Is HSI's Fall of 12.7% the Highest in History?

27 October 2008

Hang Seng fell 12.7% or 1,600 points today in a volatile trade; it was down 15.4% for a brief moment with an intraday swing of about 2,000 points. It opened 12,373 and closed 11,015 just above a major support. In the morning trade, it went up to 12,737 but lost all its gain in the afternoon after Nikkei posted a 6% lost in the afternoon trade. The unwinding of Yen carry trade was said to be the cause.

According to the record, the last time Hang Seng closed 13% down was on 28 Oct 1997, during the Asia Financial Crisis. Then Hang Seng lost 14% to close at 9,060 although it opened about 600 points higher at 9,649.

The largest fall in the Hang Seng's history has to be the trade on 26 Oct 1987, exactly one week after the Black Monday on 19 Oct 1987. Then Hang Seng lost about 33% or 1,121 points.

It was reported that a 4-year bull run took Hang Seng to a record high of 3,968 points on 1 October 1987. On 16 October 1987, the Black Friday, global markets crashed. On the following Black Monday, 9 October 1987, Hang Seng shed 420 points to close at 3,362. This prompted the HK Exchange to suspend trading for the rest of the week to cool the market. When market resumed trading on 26 October, the following Monday, Hang Seng plunged 33 per cent on that single day.

With a fall of 1,600 points, Hang Seng slumped more than 65% from its peak of 31,958.41 in October 2007. This fall was more serious than the 62% fall experienced in the Asia Financial Crisis in 1997. On the other hand, Nikkie ended at lowest in 26 years with 7,162.

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