(Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)

Mumbai: The corona pandemic wreaked havoc in global stock markets on Thursday with

Indian equity benchmarks going headlong into their biggest ever one-day plunge to crash into bear territory.

(Bear territory is a term that signifies stocks have fallen more than 20 percent from their highs.)

This was the biggest drop in absolute terms, eclipsing the previous record one-day fall on Monday (March 9). Both Sensex and Nifty, which had hit their lifetime closing highs on January 14 this year, closed at more than 2-1/2-year lows on Thursday.

The Sensex cracked 2,919.26 points - or 8.18 per cent - to close at 32,778.14 and the Nifty dropped 868.25 points - or 8.3 per cent - to settle at 9,590.15.

The red trail on Dalal Street eroded investor wealth worth Rs 11,27,160.65 crores, taking the total market capitalisation (m-cap) to Rs 1,25,86,398.07 crore on the BSE.

The declaration of the corona outbreak as pandemic has heightened worries over the Indian economy, which was already feeling the pangs of a slowdown, with the recent collapse of Yes Bank adding to concerns over the country’s financial sector.

It seems the Indian economy is now further from recovery than it was before the declaration of the pandemic. Though there is some respite in lower oil prices, economic recovery is likely to be delayed.

The massive plunge in international oil prices and depreciating rupee added to the volatility. The rupee depreciated 49 paise to 74.17 per US dollar (intra-day).

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai dropped 1.52 per cent, Hong Kong 3.66 per cent, Seoul 3.87 per cent and Tokyo cracked 4.41 per cent.

Markets in Europe crashed up to 6 per cent in early trade.

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