The Worst March in History!
Bryan Taylor, Chief Economist, Global Financial Data
Not only did the Covid Crisis send stocks tumbling in March throughout the world, but it also created some of the worst monthly performances for the month of March in stock market history. It is very unusual for so many countries to register their worst performance across the globe, but this occurred in March. Global Financial Data has collected monthly performance data for 21 countries and 3 regions covering over 100 years of history. In the majority of the countries that we cover, March 2020 was the worst performing March since 1900. It was also the worst performing March for the World Index and the World x/USA Index.
Information on the worst March for each country is provided in Table 1. For many of the countries, GFD has data back to 1900, or even before. March 2020 provided the worst performance for March in history in 12 of the 21 countries. These countries included Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Spain. The worst decline was in Austria where stocks fell 24% during March. This was the first time any of the countries had had their worst month since 2012. All of the other worst March declines were scattered throughout history ranging from 1924 in Germany to 1980 in Canada. February 2020 was the worst performing February in Belgium, Norway and in Europe as a whole. On the other hand, April 2020 was the best performing April in Canadian history.
2020 has already proven to be a highly volatile year and given the uncertainty over how the Coronavirus will impact financial markets during the rest of the year, we cannot guarantee that more monthly records won’t be set.
|Australia||Australia ASX All-Ordinaries||1840||2020||-21.51|
|Austria||Wiener Boersekammer Share Index (WBKI)||1922||2020||-24.03|
|Belgium||Brussels All-Share Price Index||1926||2020||-16.94|
|Canada||Canada S&P/TSX 300 Composite||1900||1980||-18.02|
|Denmark||OMX Copenhagen All-Share Price Index||1900||2001||-7.25|
|Finland||OMX Helsinki All-Share Price Index||1913||2020||-16.81|
|France||France CAC All-Tradable Index||1900||2020||-18.33|
|Germany||Germany CDAX Composite Index||1900||1924||-24.03|
|India||Bombay SE Sensitive Index||1693||2020||-23.05|
|Ireland||Ireland ISEQ All-Share Price Index||1830||2020||-19.44|
|Italy||FTSE Italia All-Share Index||1905||2020||-22.33|
|Japan||Tokyo SE Price Index (TOPIX)||1914||1953||-19.12|
|Netherlands||Netherlands All-Share Price Index||1914||2020||-12.19|
|New Zealand||New Zealand SE All-Share Capital Index||1862||2020||-13.60|
|Norway||Oslo SE OBX-25 Stock Index||1914||2020||-13.24|
|South Africa||FTSE/JSE All-Share Index||1900||1982||-14.08|
|Spain||Madrid SE General Index||1918||2020||-22.82|
|Sweden||OMX Stockholm All-Share Price Index||1901||1932||-27.64|
|Switzerland||Switzerland Price Index||1921||1965||-8.80|
|United Kingdom||GFD Indices UK Top 100 Price Index||1900||1974||-17.80|
|United States||GFD Indices USA Top 100 Price Index||1900||1938||-21.93|
|World||GFD Indices Developed World Price Index (USD)||1900||2020||-13.47|
|World x/USA||GFD Indices Developed World x/USA Price Index (USD)||1900||2020||-12.60|
|Europe||GFD Indices Developed World Europe Price Index (USD)||1900||1980||-13.85|
Table 1. Worst March Performances by Country, 1900 to 2020