The Australian sharemarket has had its second biggest one-day fall on record as fears of a global recession sparked drops in Asian markets and on Wall Street, where the S&P 500 stock index fell nearly 8 per cent overnight.
The All Ordinaries index has plunged 8.2 per cent to 3,940, its biggest fall since 1987 when the stockmarket plummeted 25 per cent, and the ASX 200 has dropped 360 points to 3,961.
World markets topple
Asian stocks have followed the dive on Australian markets.
Japan’s Nikkei stock index plunged 9.62 per cent by the close of trade – its biggest loss since "Black Monday" in October 1987 – falling 881 points to end at 8,276.
Meanwhile, Russia’s financial regulator has ordered the country’s two main stock markets to remain closed after sharp falls in the United States and Asia.
"Following an order from the Federal Service for the Financial Markets, regular trading will be halted," the RTS and MICEX exchanges wrote in statements posted on their websites.
South Korean shares lost 4.1 per cent, with the KOSPI index ending down 53.42 points at 1,241.
Philippine share prices closed down 8.3 per, wiht the composite index losing 191 points to 2,098.
About 4:15pm AEDT, the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks excluding Japan was down 7.7 per cent to its lowest since January 2005, and has fallen 21 per cent this week alone.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index had dropped 7 per cent to a near three-year low.