New Delhi: For the first time since 2018, Nifty 50 benchmark index slipped below the 10,000-mark on Thursday as the market opened. The S&P BSE Sensex plunged as much as 1,821.27 points to hit 33,876.13 in the first few minutes of trade, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark slid to 9,916.55, down 541.85 points from the previous close. As transactions proceeded, Sensex dipped 2,600 points and Nifty touched 9,700 in the biggest crash ever. Finally, Sensex on Thursday was down by over 3,150 points. Also Read - Donald Trump Suspends All Travel Between the US and Europe for 30 Days Over Coronavirus, UK Exempted

This crash was prompted by US President Donald Trump’s announcement of a travel ban from Europe except for the UK for 30 days. Though Trump said trade will not be affected, the market bore the brunt. Also Read - Markets in Red as Sensex Down by Over 2300 Points, Nifty at 15-Month Low | 10 Points

Crude oil prices plunged nearly 4 per cent having switched in and out of positive territory before the US announcement. On Monday, the biggest single-day fall in crude oil prices since the Gulf War had hurt investor confidence around the globe, leading to the steepest drop in Reliance Industries shares in at least 10 years. Also Read - Sensex Plunges 1,300 Points, Nifty Slips Below 10,600 Over Coronavirus Fears & Yes Bank Crisis

The rupee too plunged 82 paise to 74.50 against US dollar in the morning session. The selloff picked pace after the World Health Organization (WHO), late Wednesday night, termed the new coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, and expressed deep concern over the “alarming levels of inaction”.

Brent crude oil futures plunged over 5 per cent to USD 34 per barrel, after the travel ban. Continuing its downward spiral, domestic BSE Sensex sank 1,821.27 points at open. The 30-share index was trading 1,652.54 points, or 4.63 per cent, lower at 34,044.86 in the morning session.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty cracked 486.75 points, or 4.65 per cent, to 9,971.65.

In the previous session, the 30-share BSE barometer settled 62.45 points or 0.18 per cent higher at 35,697.40, and the Nifty closed 6.95 points or 0.07 per cent up at 10,458.40.

On a net basis, foreign institutional investors sold equities worth Rs 3,515.38 crore, while domestic institutional investors bought shares worth Rs 2,835.46 crore on Wednesday, data available with stock exchanges showed. All Sensex components were trading in the red. Tata Steel was the top loser, tanking up to 9 per cent, followed by ONGC, SBI, Titan, Axis Bank, M&M, UltraTech Cement, L&T and Reliance Industries.

According to traders, volatility peaked in global markets after the WHO’s announcement describing the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic. Besides selloff in global equities, massive plunge in international oil prices and depreciating rupee added to investor concerns, they added.

Incessant foreign fund outflow also spooked market participants, traders said. Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai dropped over 1.34 per cent, Hong Kong 3.66 per cent, Seoul 4.29 per cent and Tokyo cracked up to 5.32 per cent.

In overnight trade, US equity benchmarks also plunged nearly 5 per cent, intensifying the global rout. The new coronavirus that first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year has claimed over 4,200 lives and infected more than 117,330 people across 107 countries and territories. China remains the hardest-hit with over 80,000 infections and 3,000 deaths.

(With PTI Inputs)