Billions wiped off South Africa market in minutes amid global bloodbath

The JSE’s all share index started the week with an instant loss of 8%, as global panic selling intensified.

Last week, the JSE lost 15% of its value – and suffered two of its biggest crashes in the past forty years. On Monday, the JSE’s all share index dropped by more than 6%, while on Thursday the market lost 9.7%.

Sasol was down 15% again on Monday, to R42.99 - after last week briefly dipping below R30.

Mining shares were also hit badly – including Gold Fields (-16%), Exxaro (-15%), Northam (-13%), Sibanye (-13%) and Harmony (-8%).

Financial stocks were also down, with FirstRand and Standard Bank down more than 7%.

On Sunday, the US central bank announced an emergency interest rate cut of a full percentage point, which brought rates to between 0 percent to 0.25 percent. In reaction, the rand strengthened to R16.06/$, as it is offering attractive interest by comparison. The South African repo rate is still at around 6.25%.

But by Monday morning, the rand has weakened to R16.58/$.

The Fed rate cut has not done anything to calm panic in the market – and with rates now close to 0%, investors are worried about where future help will come from.

“Not only has the Federal Reserve thrown all of its tools out of the toolbox to help combat the economic pressures that the coronavirus will bring to the world economy, it has done so by firing all of its guns, grenades as well as bazookas at the problem and it can’t be helped to hold concern following this move regarding what ammunition does the Fed truly have left,” Jameel Ahmad, Global Head of Currency Strategy and Market Research at FXTM, said.

US futures slumped on Monday, and trading had to stop after maximum losses were reached.

The Australian stock market suffered a record slump (-9.7%) on Monday, while Asian markets were also down.

On Sunday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa invoked sweeping emergency powers to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

This included a ban on travel from various countries, as well as the closing of 35 land ports of entry, and two of the country's eight seaports. He warned about the economic impact, but said a fiscal relief package will be introduce to minimise damage to the economy.