Obama briefed on global financial markets: White House

(REUTERS) - U.S. President Barack Obama has been briefed on developments in global financial markets, the White House said on Monday after world stock markets plunged.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the U.S. economy is strong and that U.S. officials continue to urge China to pursue financial reforms, including moving toward a more market-determined exchange rate for its currency.

World stock markets plunged on Monday, after a near 9 percent dive in China shares and a sharp drop in the dollar and major commodities sent investors rushing for the exits.

After dropping more than 1,000 points, or almost 7 percent, at Wall Street's open, the Dow Jones industrial average eased losses but was still off more than 1 percent at midday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down by a similar margin after the U.S. benchmark earlier dropped nearly 10 percent below its record.

A key measure of U.S. equity volatility, the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, shot above the 50 mark for the first time since 2009, and the New York Stock Exchange was forced to implement special price-indication measures to allow for a more fluid start to trading.

Concerns about a China-led global economic slowdown and tumbling commodities prices had U.S. traders fearing the worst after a 5 percent decline in the both the S&P and Dow last Thursday and Friday.