German share prices tumbled more than 3.0 percent at the start of trade on Monday, the first day of business in 2016, with investor sentiment soured by losses in Asian stock markets earlier.
The blue-chip DAX 30 stock index opened 2.39 percent lower at 10,485.81 points, but subsequently tumbled 3.8 percent to an intraday low of 10,337.84 points.
The mid-cap MDAX index was also down sharply, shedding 2.95 percent to 20,162.52 points.
In Asia, trading on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges was ended early after shares slumped seven percent, the first time China's new "circuit breaker" intervened to curb market volatility.
The heavy falls followed poor data from official and private surveys of manufacturing in the world's second-largest economy. In addition, measures introduced to curb China's mid-2015 share slump are about to expire.