The worst market crashes

The worst market crashes

The global pandemic caused stock markets around the world to crash in 2020
The global pandemic caused stock markets around the world to crash in 2020. Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP/File
Source: AFP

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Fifteen years ago, on September 15, 2008, the Lehman Brothers investment bank went bankrupt, a victim of the global financial crisis during which stock markets crashed.

Below is a reminder of the other major crashes in history:

1637: Tulip mania

The first speculative bubble of modern history involves exotic tulips. Prices for coveted varieties of the flower soar in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 17th century before the bubble bursts in 1637.

The blooms lost nine-tenths of their previous value.

1720: South Sea Bubble

In early 18th century England, people are falling over each other to buy shares in the South Sea Company, set up to trade in slaves with South America and restructure the public debt.

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When the shares crash, many investors are ruined.

1882: French crash

The French economy suffers its worst crisis of the 19th century following the collapse in January 1882 of the share price of Union Generale bank which causes the Paris and Lyon stock exchanges to crash.

1929: Wall Street collapse

The 1929 Wall Street Crash marked the start of the Great Depression in the United States
The 1929 Wall Street Crash marked the start of the Great Depression in the United States. Photo: STAN HONDA / AFP/File
Source: AFP

October 24, 1929 becomes known as "Black Thursday" on Wall Street after a bull market implodes, causing the Dow Jones to lose more than 22 percent of its value at the start of trade.

Stocks recoup most lost ground during the day but the rot has set in: October 28 and 29 also see huge losses in a crisis that marks the beginning of the Great Depression in the United States and a global economic crisis.

1987: Black Monday

Wall Street crashes again on October 19, 1987, on the back of large US trade and budget deficits and interest rates hikes.

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The Dow Jones index loses 22.6 percent, causing panic on markets worldwide.

1998: Russian crash

In August 1998, the ruble collapses due to speculation linked to falling oil prices and the ripple effect of the 1997 Asian economic crisis.

Moscow declares a 90-day moratorium on the payment of its foreign debt and cannot borrow again on international markets for over a decade.

2000: bubble

The start of the millennium sees the deflation of the tech bubble caused by venture capitalists throwing money at unproven companies.

From a record 5,048.62 points on March 10, 2000, the US tech-heavy Nasdaq index loses 39.3 percent in value over the year.

Many internet startups go out of business.

2008: Subprime crisis

The 2008 global financial crisis is caused by bankers in the United States giving subprime mortgages to people on shaky financial footing and then selling them off as investments, fuelling a housing boom.

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When borrowers become unable to pay their mortgages, the stock market crashes and the banking system buckles, culminating with the dramatic bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

Millions of people lose their homes.

2015: Chinese boom-bust

In 2015 China's benchmark Shanghai index plummeted by 40 percent
In 2015 China's benchmark Shanghai index plummeted by 40 percent. Photo: JOHANNES EISELE / AFP/File
Source: AFP

The popping of a Chinese stock market bubble in the summer of 2015 causes the benchmark Shanghai index to plummet by over 40 percent over several weeks, despite government intervention to try to stop the crash.

2020: Pandemic

Global stocks crash in March 2020 after the World Health Organization declares Covid-19 a pandemic that will put much of the world under lockdown.

The Dow Jones loses 26 percent in four days, one of its biggest-ever drops.

But the rapid response by national governments, which dig deep to keep their economies afloat, helps most markets rebound within months.

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Source: AFP

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