Stock market crashes in India

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Since the founding of the Bombay stock exchange, stock markets in India, particularly in Mumbai (BSE and NSE) have seen a number of booms as well as crashes.[1]

This page lists these crashes and sharp falls in the two primary Indian stock markets, namely the BSE and NSE.[2] Financial Times[3] terms a double-digit percentage fall in the stock markets over five minutes as a crash, while Jayadev et al. describe a stock market crash in India as a "fall in the NIFTY of more than 10% within a span of 20 days" or "difference of more than 10% between the high on a day and the low on the next trading day" or "decline in the NIFTY of more than 9% within a span of 5 days".[4] As per the latter definition, the Nifty experienced 15 crashes during the period 2000 to 2008 with a number of them having occurred in the months of January, May and June 2008.[5]

Pre independence era[edit]

The crash of 1865[edit]

As per the Business Standard, India experienced its first stock market crash in 1865.[6] Although the Bombay stock exchange had not yet been formed, Gujrati and Parsi traders often traded shares mutually at the junction of Rampart row and Meadows street. In the preceding years, speculation about the results of the American civil war had led to irrational increases of stocks of new Indian companies. Shares of the Back bay reclamation (face value Rs. 5,000) touched Rs. 50,000 and those of Bank of Bombay (face value Rs.500) touched Rs. 2,850. Money made from cotton was pumped into the stock market driving prices of stocks higher. Banks loaned money to speculators further fuelling the bull run and wealthy merchants like Premchand Roychand dispensed advice that led to ordinary people placing their bets on shares.[7]

On 16 November 1864, the governor warned civil servants not to participate in the current frenzy. New companies were floated with new share issues publicized in the newspapers. Forward contracts further promoted speculative purchases. However, the market crashed in May 1865 when the civil war ended, causing cotton prices to fall. Shares of the Backbay reclamation fell by 96% to under Rs. 2,000 and a number of merchants including Behramji Hormuzjee Cama went bankrupt.[8] The crash not only led to a dwindling of the financial fortunes of many, it also led to a decrease of the city's population by 21% due to the closing down of many enterprises.[9] On 1 July 1865, when hundreds of "time bargains" had matured (as the future contracts were then known), buyers and sellers alike defaulted leading to the burst of the bubble. A share of Bank of Bombay which had touched Rs 2,850 at the peak of the market slumped to just Rs 87 in the aftermath of the bust.[10]

Crash of 1991[edit]

After the liberalization of India in 1991, the stock market saw a number of cycles of booms and busts, some related to scams such as those engineered by players such as Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh, some due to global events and a few due to circular trading, rigging of prices and the irrational exuberance of investors leading to bubbles that finally burst.[11]

Crash of 1992[edit]

On 28 April 1992, the BSE experienced a fall of 12.77% - its largest fall in history (in terms of percentage) due to the Harshad Mehta scam.[12]

Crash of 2006[edit]

On 18 May 2006, the BSE fell by 826 points to 11,391.[13]

Crashes of 2007[edit]

In light of the world financial crisis of 2007-2008, the stock markets in India fell on a number of occasions in 2007 as well as 2008. In 2007, alone, there were five sharp falls in the stock markets.

  • 2 April 2007: The sensex fell by 617 points to 12,455 though during the course of the day, it fell further. As per the analysts at rediff, "The Sensex opened with a huge negative gap of 260 points at 12,812 following the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote] decision to hike the cash reserve ratio and repo rate. Unabated selling, mainly in auto and banking stocks, saw the index drift to lower levels as the day progressed. The index tumbled to a low of 12,426 before finally settling with a hefty loss of 617 points (4.7%) at 12,455".[1]
  • 1 August 2007: The sensex continued to fall and finally settled at 14,936 while the nifty fell by 183 points to 4,346. As per Rediff, "The Sensex opened with a negative gap of 207 points at 15,344 amid weak trends in the global market and slipped deeper into the red. Unabated selling across-the-board saw the index tumble to a low of 14,911. The Sensex finally ended with a hefty loss of 615 points at 14,936. The NSE Nifty ended at 4,346, down 183 points. This was the third biggest loss in absolute terms for the index (thus far)".[1]
  • 16 August 2007: The sensex continue to languish a good 500 points down for most of the trading session, finally closing at a low of 14,358, a loss of 643 points.[1]
  • 18 October 2007: While activity remained normal in the morning, during noon trades, the sensex tumbled down as the intensity of selling increased towards the closing bell of the BSE. The sensex tumbled all the way to a low of 17,771 - down 1,428 points from the same day's high. It finally settled on 17,998 with a loss of 717 points (3.8%). The Nifty too lost 208 points and closed at 5,351.[1]
  • 21 November 2007: Trying to explain the fall, rediff recounted that "Mirroring weakness in other Asian markets, the Sensex saw relentless selling." The index tumbled to a new low of 18,515 - down 766 points from the previous day's close. It finally ended with a loss of 678 points at 18,603. The Nifty also lost 220 points to close at 5,561.[1]
  • 17 December 2007: As per rediff, "Again, a heavy bout of selling in the late noon deals saw the BSE Sensex plunge to a low of 19,177 - down 856 points from the day's open. The Sensex finally closed at 19,261 - a fall 0f 769 points (3.8%). The NSE Nifty 50 ended at 5,777, down 271 points".[1]

Crashes of 2008[edit]

  • on 21 Jan 2008, the BSE fell by 1408 points to 17,605 leading to one of the largest erosions in investor wealth.[14] The BSE stopped trading for a while at 2:30 pm due to a technical snag although its circuit filter allows swings of up to 15% before stopping trading for an hour.[15][16] Referred to in the media as "Black Monday", the fall was blamed by analysts at HSBC mutual fund and JP Morgan on a large variety of reasons including change in the global investment climate, fears of United States' economy going into a recession, FIIs and foreign hedge funds selling in order to reallocate their funds from risky emerging markets to stable developed markets, a cut in US interest rates, global bourses (often referred to as event related volatility), volatility in commodities markets, a combination of global and local factors ("...other emerging markets were down nearly 20% so India is playing catch-up..."), huge build-ups in derivatives positions leading to margin calls and that many IPOs had sucked out liquidity from the primary market into the secondary market.[17] HSBC mutual funds analysts predicted further falls in the stock market, and the analysts at JP Morgan were of the opinion that market would fall a further 10-15%.[18][19][20]
  • On the next day on 22 January 2008, the Sensex again fell by 875 points to 16,729.
  • On 11 Feb 2008, the sensex fell by a further 834 points to 16,630.
  • On 3 March 2008, the Sensex fell by 900 points to settle at 16,677.
  • On 17 March 2008, the BSE Sensex fell further to 14,809 - a fall of 951 points.
  • On 24 October 2008, the BSE Sensex fell to 8701, a fall of 1070 points in a single day.
  • On 26 November 2008, the sensex continue to fall, in the bargain (as per the financial newspaper Livemint) "...dashing middle class dreams". Analysts at Livemint and Ajmera associates, Anagram capital and Ace financial services ascribed a number of reasons for this, ranging from arge sales by foreign institutional investors (FII), withdrawal of money by the insurance sector. They all felt that the sensex could rise by at the most 20-30% in 2009, from its them level of 9000 points.[21]

Crash of 2009[edit]

On 6 July 2009, the sensex fell by 869 points to 14,043.

Crashes of 2015[edit]

  • On 6 Jan 2015, the sensex fell by 854 points to 26,987.[22]
  • On 24 August 2015, the BSE sensex crashed by 1,624 points and the NSE fell by 490 points. Finally the indices closed at 25,741 points and the Nifty to 7,809 points. The reason given for this crash was given as a ripple effect due to fears over a slowdown in China, as the Yuan had been devalued two weeks ago leading to a fall in the currency rates of other currencies and the rapid selling of stocks in China and India. The Shanghai stock exchange too fell by 8.5%. A variety of other reasons too were given for this fall by analysts including disappointing earnings in the first quarter for many Indian companies, somber commentaries by their management leading to doubts regarding their recovery and a below average monsoon for that year.[23]


The stock markets in India continued to fall in 2016. By 16 February 2016, the BSE had seen a fall of 26% over the past eleven months, losing 1607 points in four consecutive days of February. The reasons given for this included NPAs of Indian banks, "global weaknesses" and "global factors". In the four months from November 2015 to February 2016, FIIs were reported to have sold equities worth Rs 17,318 crore as, in the opinion of analysts, concerns grew over growth in China and as crude oil prices tumbled below $30 per barrel[24]

On 9 November 2016, crashed by 1689 points, believed by analysts to be due to the crack down on black money by the Indian government, resulting in franctic selling. The sensex nosedived by 6% to 26,902 and the Nifty dropped by 541 pints to 8002. These were said to be due to the demonetization drive by the government. The Hindu was of the opinion that the weakening rupee and the US presidential election too had some bearing on the behavior of investors. The fall was concurrent with falls in other Asian stock markets including the Hang Seng, Nikkei and the Shanghai Composite. The S&P had also fallen by 4.45%.[25]


  • Although not classified as a crash, the BSE and NSE fell sharply on 2 and 5 February 2018, sparked by the comments of the Finance minister's proposal in the budget speech to introduce a 10% long term capital gains tax (LTCG) on equity shares sold after 12 months.[26][27][28] The BSE Sensex fell by 600 points in two days, and the Nifty 50 fell by about 400 points to 10,676 on 5th.[29] Earlier, the BSE sensex had fallen by 570 points to 35,328 on 2 February and the NSE Nifty by 190 points to a low of 10,826.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "The 10 biggest falls in Sensex history". Rediff. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Sensex crashes over 1,400 points amid global meltdown". Hindustan Times. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  3. ^ Jones, Sam. "'FTSE 100 Crash". FT Alphaville. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  4. ^ Shiller, Robert J. (November 1987). "Investor Behavior in the October 1987 Stock Market Crash: Survey Evidence". NBER Working Paper No. 2446. doi:10.3386/w2446.
  5. ^ M, Jayadev; M, Sathish; R, Subash. "Predicting Stock Market Crashes". Tejas@IIMB. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  6. ^ Mampatta, Sachin; Bhayani, Rajesh (22 July 2015). "How Abraham Lincoln triggered India's first stock market crash". Business Standard. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  7. ^ Wacha, Dinshaw. A Financial Chapter In The History Of Bombay City. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  8. ^ Dwivedi, Sharada; Mehrotra, Rahul. Bombay: the cities within. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  9. ^ Tripathi, Dwijendra. The Oxford History of Indian Business. Mumbai: Oxford university press. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  10. ^ Ram Prasad, Bandi. "BSE - from Banyan tree to biggest bourse". Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  11. ^ Verman, Virendra (27 April 2004). "Behavioural finance as investment concept". Hindu Businessline. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  12. ^ Verma, Virendra (27 April 2004). "The face of stock broking has changed - an interview with Motilal Oswal". Hindu Businessline. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  13. ^ Pandathil, Rajesh; Kadam, Kishore (24 August 2015). "Sensex crashes 1624 points the biggest ever market fall explained in seven graphics". First Post. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  14. ^ "Biggest-ever loss: Sensex plunges 1,400 points". Rediff abroad via Business Standard. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Trading halted: BSE asked to clarify". Rediff India Abroad. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Circuit breakers at NSE". NSE. Retrieved 3 February 2018. External link in |website= (help)
  17. ^ "Investors lose over $300 bn in 6 days". Rediff abroad business. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  18. ^ "Why did the stock market crash? Analysts answers and readers comments". Rediff news. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Market crash: Have you been hit? - Analysis and readers comments". Rediff India Abroad. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Market correction? What's that?". Rediff. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  21. ^ Majumdar, Bappa; Mukherjee, Biman (26 November 2008). "Stock market crash in India dashes middle-class dreams". Livemint. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Biggest Sensex Crash Since 2009 Wipes Out 7 Lakh Crore of Investors' Wealth". NDTV Profit. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  23. ^ "Sensex crashes 1,624 points: The biggest ever market fall explained in seven graphics". First Post. 24 August 2015.
  24. ^ Singh, Sandeep (12 February 2016). "Sensex crash: 'Stick to the course'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  25. ^ Rukhaiyar, Ashish (9 November 2016). "Sensex crashes 1689 points on black money crackdown, US election". The Hindu. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  26. ^ Jaitley, Arun. "Budget speech 2018-19" (PDF). Ministry of finance, India. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  27. ^ "The road ahead for the markets". Live Mint. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  28. ^ "LTCG imposed to check tax base erosion, boost manufacturing, says government". Live Mint. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  29. ^ "LTCG tax is a muddled plan that reduces incentive for risk taking, relies only on compliance: View". Economic Times. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  30. ^ "Market Live: Sensex falls over 500 points, Nifty at 10,600, bank stocks top losers". Live mint - Money (The big spend). 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.