(Adds future prices, company news items)
LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - European equity futures fell sharply on Thursday after China accelerated the depreciation of the yuan, sending currencies across the region reeling and domestic stock markets tumbling.
Futures on the Euro STOXX 50, German DAX and French CAC indexes fell between 2.8-3.2 percent. Futures on Britain's FTSE 100 fell 2 percent.
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) again surprised markets by setting the official midpoint rate on the yuan, also known as the renminbi (RMB), at 6.5646 per dollar, the lowest since March 2011.
China's stock markets were suspended for the rest of the day less than half an hour after opening as a new circuit-breaking mechanism was tripped for the second time this week.
Investors have expressed fears that Beijing, in a bid to help exporters, is allowing the yuan's rapid depreciation to accelerate, which would mean China's economy is even weaker than had been imagined. This could therefore spark another wave of competitive devaluations around Asia and in other key economies.
Singapore-based aircraft leasing company BOC Aviation Pte ordered 30 Airbus Group A320 narrow-body jets at the end of December as it ramps up its fleet ahead of a $3 billion initial public offering in Hong Kong.
Air France-KLM and its French network Air France both made an operating profit in 2015, top company officials said on Wednesday.
An insecticide widely used on cotton plants and citrus groves can harm bees that come into contact with those crops under certain conditions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday. Bayer CropScience, Syngenta AG and other firms that produce or sell neonic products have said mite infestations and other factors are to blame for bee deaths.
British new car registrations hit an all-time high last year, two sources told Reuters citing preliminary industry data, helped by rising consumer confidence, the strength of the pound and cheap car loans.
Workers at British insurer Legal & General have voted for industrial action over the threatened closure of a regional office, trade union Unite said on Wednesday, their first such move since the 1970s.
The U.K.'s financial watchdog is investigating possible manipulation of the British government-bond market by traders at Lloyds Banking Group, according to people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported.(on.wsj.com/1ON9f2C)
British retailer Marks & Spencer said on Thursday its Chief Executive Marc Bolland would retire in April after six years in the role and be succeeded by Steve Rowe, the current head of its non-food business.
M&S announced the news as it reported poor trading in its general merchandise division which covers clothes, shoes and homewares, with like-for-like sales down 5.8 percent in the third quarter which covers the key Christmas period.
Reinsurance prices fell at the start of 2016 and are expected to remain under pressure in the coming months, though the pace of decline is moderating, reinsurance brokers said.
Monsanto Chief Executive Hugh Grant said recent attempts to re-engage Syngenta about a potential takeover have been difficult since the Swiss agrochemical company shot down a proposed $45 billion deal last year.
He told analysts on an earnings call on Wednesday that company executives still believe there is "a significant opportunity" for integration between the two companies, and given tougher market conditions there is a greater need to figure out what those opportunities might be. "We haven't seen much progress on that front," he added.
The German automaker assumes it will have to buy back about 115,000 cars in the United States as a result of the emissions scandal, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.
Audi aims to increase the share of electric cars to a quarter of its U.S. deliveries by about 2026 as the luxury brand steps up efforts to improve battery technology, the head of its U.S. operations said on Wednesday.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares slump as China sets yuan lower, triggers circuit breaker > US STOCKS-Wall St drops to 3-month low; China, energy weigh > Tokyo's Nikkei share average closes down 2.33 pct > TREASURIES-Yields fall as low inflation outlook hints at dovish Fed > FOREX-Yen surges, Aussie hit hard as yuan slide quickens > PRECIOUS-Flight to safety sends gold to 9-wk high as stocks slump > METALS-London copper falls on demand concerns as Chinese equities plunge > Global oil prices hit 11-year low on China market turmoil, storage overhang (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta)