The ASX200 plunged 6.3 per cent by 1.42pm AEDT, adding to the $551 billion lost since its all-time high reached just three weeks ago.
And after a near-10 per cent crash on Wall Street last night as well as violent falls in Europe, the indicators are forecasting the horror to deepen on our shores as the market barrels towards the worst week of losses in its history.
More than 20 per cent has been wiped since Friday last week, smashing the previous worst of 15.7 per cent recorded in October 2008.
“We’ve never seen anything like the intensity and the ferocity of the selling, there’s no script to show how aggressive this sell-off has been,” Pepperstone head of research Chris Weston told news.com.au.
He said US President Donald Trump’s inaction to counter the economic impacts of the coronavirus coupled with his 30-day travel ban to Europe are the main prods for the spiral.
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At midday Australian time yesterday, Trump ramped up travel restrictions and was flimsy on details of a promised stimulus package proposed to ease the looming financial crisis.
“He basically bought a pea shooter to a gunfight,” Mr Weston said.
It looks like being the worst week of all time for the ASX/200
At 1126 AEDT the market was down 20.47 per cent – the next worse was 15.65 per cent in a single week in October 2008 pic.twitter.com/zo92beEGpD
— Alex Druce (@AlexDruuuce) March 13, 2020
“The Trump administration is not delivering shock and awe when the markets really need it.
“They needed to go above and beyond when they had the chance and they disappointed.”
Burman chief investment officer Julia Lee said the weight of money shedding from the market hasn’t been witnessed for more than 30 years.
“It is a historic move we’re seeing in terms of the market, it’s the worst we’ve seen since the 1987 stock market crash,” she told news.com.au.
“The speed of the losses is unusual but when volatility does spike it tends to cluster, it’s just that we’re seeing extremely big moves.”
The Australian stock market now compared with the Oct 1987 crash pic.twitter.com/muD9xBsI19
— Greg Jericho (@GrogsGamut) March 13, 2020
looks like somebody poured lava over Iress’s market map pic.twitter.com/JSdkTlrJgP
— Michael McCarthy (@MicMcCarthy_CMC) March 12, 2020
Ms Lee said the market sees big moves both down and up during times of such uncertainty but the trajectory of global stocks is certain.
“In the last couple of weeks, Wall Street has had plus-4 per cent days as well,” she said. “And you would expect that in this kind of environment.
“We see big up days but ultimately the down days outweigh and the market continues to go lower until it finds a floor.”
THURSDAY’S HISTORIC TUMBLE
Yesterday’s falls eclipsed the pain inflicted on Monday, making it the worst day of losses since the Global Financial Crisis.
The ASX plunged 7.4 per cent to 5304.6 by the close on a day 35-year veteran CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy described as one of the worst he’s ever witnessed.
“The global impulse is really cruelling the local market,” he told news.com.au. “And the steepness of the falls and the speed of the falls suggest there’s more damage to come.”
The local index reached an all-time high of 7289.7 on February 20 but has plummeted more than a quarter in just three weeks, amounting to an astonishing loss of half a trillion dollars.
The steep falls were inflicted across the board but the energy and banking sectors were particularly smashed, each down 8 per cent.
Major lenders Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB and ANZ were all between 7.8 and 8.8 per cent lower.
Travel companies remain the worst impacted by the virus and the increasingly severe travel restrictions. Both Webjet and Flight Centre fell nearly 20 per cent, while Virgin Australia was down 16.7 per cent.