Coronavirus sets off biggest stock market crash since 2008 financial crisis
The FTSE 100 share price index has just had its worst day since October 1987, losing down 9.81% of its value.
London's top index lost more than 633 points on Thursday afternoon alone, bringing it to the lowest point since 2012, as fears over the impact of coronavirus on the economy grow.
The fall saw £159 billion wiped from the value of the UK's top companies.
It comes after the World Health Organisation upgraded the coronavirus outbreak to a pandemic.
It's the second time in a week the UK's markets have tumbled, following falls on Monday sparked by oil price collapses over the weekend.
It means more than half a trillion pounds has been wiped off the FTSE 100 index in less than a month.
The pound has also been hit today, with the first slide following Donald Trump's flight ban and then again as investors scrambled for dollars following the European Central Bank's decision to keep interest rates on hold.
The falls began within moments of the FTSE 100 opening – seeing it sink more than 300 points, to levels not seen for eight years.
By 2pm, all 350 companies listed on the wider FTSE 350 were in negative territory, with shares in Cineworld slumping 17%, Travelex owner Finablr down 65%, train operator Go-Ahead down 36% and a whole host of oil, travel and retail businesses suffering.
The best-performing company on the FTSE 100 was food delivery firm Ocado, down only 2.7%.
The pound also fell to 88.89p a euro, its lowest level since October.
"The aggressive response to combat the coronavirus fallout by UK policymakers has failed to alter the pound's recent weakening trend," said analysts at MUFG.
"The coordinated loosening of fiscal and monetary policy should help to provide more support for the UK economy but is no silver bullet to prevent a sharp slowdown in the coming quarters."
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