The Australian sharemarket has suffered its worst day since mid-August on renewed fears over global trade uncertainty.
The S&P/ASX200 index on Tuesday dropped 150 points, or 2.19 per cent, to 6712.3, while the all ordinaries fell 146.9 points, or 2.11 per cent, to 6818.4.
The fall wiped out $50.8 billion in value from the market and was the largest single-day drop since a 187.8 point loss on August 15.
“It’s a pretty dark day today, pretty ugly,” said Pepperstone head of research Chris Weston.
“All sectors are absolutely being taken to the woodshed.”
But there was no sense of panic, he added, just traders taking a little bit off the table following a big run-up after US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross talked tough on China.
Traders realised tariff hikes on December 15 are a real possibility, which would cause a huge crash the next day, Mr Weston said.
“If there’s a fire at the disco, you want to get closest to the exit,” he said.
It was too soon to tell whether this was a buying opportunity or if the market had more to drop, he added.
The ASX200 set an all-time high on Friday and is up 18.9 per cent on the year.
But eight of the ASX’s 11 sectors were down more than 2 per cent on Tuesday, with consumer staples the worst hit, collectively down 3.3 per cent as Woolworths fell 3.4 per cent to $38.43.
In the banking sector, Commonwealth Bank dropped 2.6 per cent to $79.34, NAB fell 1.8 per cent to $25.43, Westpac declined 1.3 per cent to $24.29 and ANZ fell 1.1 per cent to $24.72.
Biotech giant CSL dropped 2.9 per cent to $277.90, while Telstra fell 3.1 per cent to $3.73.
The mining sector dropped the least, down 1.4 per cent, as BHP fell 1.4 per cent to $37.77, Rio Tinto dropped 0.5 per cent to $97.02 and South32 dropped 3 per cent to $2.59.
Gold miners were mixed, with Evolution Mining up 1.5 per cent and Perseus Mining climbing 5.7 per cent, while Northern Star dropped 0.4 per cent and Newcrest fell 1.6 per cent.
Avita Medical was the biggest decliner among the ASX200, falling 9.5 per cent to 57.5¢.
Caltex Australia fell 0.8 per cent to $34.49 after rejecting Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard’s $34.50 cash offer as inadequate, while saying it is open to a higher bid.
Santos dipped 0.6 per cent after the oil and gas producer upgraded its 2025 production outlook.
In the volatile tech sector, WiseTech Global dropped 5.7 per cent, Xero fell 3.1 per cent and Afterpay dropped 2.3 per cent.
The Australian dollar meanwhile climbed to a two-and-a-half week high against its US counterpart after the Reserve Bank of Australia declined to cut the cash rate at its last meeting until February.
The Aussie dollar is buying 68.46 US cents, from 67.75 US cents on Monday.
Looking forward, September quarter GDP figures are set to be released on Wednesday, with annual growth expected to be 1.7 per cent, compared to the 1.4 per cent posted for the June quarter, which was the slowest in a decade.