LONDON - European stock markets eked out gains in volatile trade Monday after another tumble across Asia that saw Shanghai plunge more than five percent on stubborn worries about China's economic slowdown.

"Asian shares sank to their lowest in over four years on Monday as doubts mounted about Beijing's ability to manage the world's second-biggest economy," said ETX Capital trader David Papier.

In Europe, markets switched frequently between gains and losses.

At about 1145 GMT, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 0.2 percent compared with Friday's close.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 won 0.8 percent and the Paris CAC 40 climbed 0.5 percent.

The euro fell to $1.0895.

Official data Saturday showed Chinese consumer prices picked up slightly in December but inflation remained about half the government's target.

Prices paid at the factory gate, a guide to future inflation, also sank for a 46th consecutive month.

The figures are the latest highlighting weakness in China, which is expected to have grown in 2015 at its slowest rate in a quarter of a century. On Monday Shanghai closed down 5.3 percent, while Hong Kong gave up 2.8 percent.

Sydney and Seoul slipped 1.2 percent while Singapore was 2.0 percent off. Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

Investors extended losses from last week, which was one of the worst starts to a year on record for global equities with dealers rattled after trade was suspended twice in four days in China.

Shanghai ended the week about 10 percent lower in echoes of a sell-off that fuelled global turmoil in the summer.

A series of cuts in the Chinese currency's value to a five-year low against the dollar added to the sense of nervousness as Beijing stood accused of bungling its handling of the markets.

On Friday the central People's Bank of China sought to soothe nerves by pledging "prudent" monetary policy and work to ensure "reasonably abundant liquidity" in the banking system this year.

"Chinese equities have had a tough start to the year. This has flowed around the globe, kneecapping equities, where valuations were already deemed to be stretched," said Mark Smith, a senior economist in Auckland at ANZ Bank New Zealand.

"A weaker inflation outlook and heightened market volatility has also swung the pendulum back to more policy support."