Alarm bells are ringing as stockmarkets in London, Asia and the US all head south as nervous investors dump shares.
ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie says the biggest risk to New Zealand is also what's going on in China, and there's suspicion about the country's true rate of growth.
"The warning signs are looking a bit ominous," Bagrie said.
"It's a bit of a warning shot, obviously a fairly rough start to the year, whether you look at equity markets or at commodity prices, they've pretty well been in freefall.
"[There's been] a lot more concerns about the state of the global economy, particularly China."
In Britain it's being dubbed "jittery January", as weak demand from China is putting pressure on commodities and the oil price has slumped, too.
There are also domestic risks - overinflated Auckland house prices, low rates of saving and reasonably high household debt.
However Bagrie says New Zealand has some good economic credentials, growth is reasonably solid and it still has what he calls 'shock absorbers'.
The New Zealand dollar has been moving down, which is good news for exporters, while the Government can increase spending to stimulate the economy and the Reserve Bank has room to further cut interest rates.
Additionally, the economy is more resilient now than it was prior to the Global Financial Crisis.