Biggest Sensex Falls (Worst Single Day Falls: Updated 2021)

Do you want to know about the Biggest Single Day Falls in Sensex? So you are at the right place. Let me share some details of the biggest Sensex Falls in history in one day. Or as many would like to call it, the worst single-day falls in Sensex in history.

So to answer your question upfront:

Q: What is the Biggest 1-Day Fall in Sensex?

A: The Biggest single-day Sensex fall in history has been on 23rd March 2020, when the Sensex fell by -3934.72 points or -13.15% during the day.

When it comes to comparing the worst Sensex crash data, there are actually 2 ways to look at the biggest Sensex fall data.

One is in percentage terms while the other is in absolute terms. The correct way to look at the biggest Sensex one-day fall in history data is to use the percentage approach. And I will share the list shortly. But before that, let’s look at the absolute points biggest Sensex fall in a day data for the last 30 years of Sensex:

Top 20 Biggest Sensex One-Day Falls (Crashes) in terms of Absolute points:

  • 23-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -3934.72 points (or -13.15%)
  • 12-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -2919.26 points (or -8.18%)
  • 16-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -2713.41 points (or -7.96%)
  • 04-May-2020 – Sensex fell by –2002.27 points (or -5.94%)
  • 09-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -1941.67 points (or -5.17%)
  • 26-Feb-2021 – Sensex fell by -1939.32 points (or -3.80%)
  • 18-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -1709.58 points (or -5.59%)
  • 12-Apr-2021 – Sensex fell by – 1707.94 points (or -3.53%)
  • 24-Aug-2015 – Sensex fell by -1624.51 points (or -5.94%)
  • 28-Feb-2020 – Sensex fell by -1448.37 points (or -3.64%)
  • 21-Jan-2008 – Sensex fell by -1408.35 points (or -7.41%)
  • 21-Dec-2020 – Sensex fell by -1406.73 points (or -3.00%)
  • 30-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -1375.27 points (or -4.61%)
  • 01-Apr-2020 – Sensex fell by -1203.18 points (or -4.08%)
  • 22-Feb-2021 – Sensex fell by -1145.44 points (or -2.25%)
  • 24-Sep-2020 – Sensex fell by -1114.82 points (or -2.96%)
  • 24-Oct-2008 – Sensex fell by -1070.63 points (or -10.96%)
  • 18-May-2020 – Sensex fell by -1068.75 points (or -3.44%)
  • 15-Oct-2020 – Sensex fell by -1066.33 points (or -2.61%)
  • 21-Apr-2020 – Sensex fell by -1011.29 points (or -3.20%)
  • 01-Feb-2020 – Sensex fell by -987.96 points (or -2.43%)

And why did I said earlier that it’s better to look at worst Sensex fall data in terms of percentages and not in absolute points term? That’s because as Sensex rises and scales new heights (like Sensex 50,000 and one day, will touch Sensex 1 lakh or Sensex@100000), the daily change numbers will become bigger and bigger due to the base effect.

So unlike previous years when Sensex values themselves were quite small compared to what they are today, these days even a 1000 point fall in Sensex isn’t exactly very big in terms of percentages.

So to be able to compare Sensex one day worst fall data across years and for different Sensex levels and eras, its best to look at the Sensex daily change data in terms of percentage rise or fall.

Now let’s look at the worst single-day Sensex falls in terms of their percentage drops.

And that is the correct way of looking at the fall or rise data for Sensex.

Do note that here, we are only looking at the Sensex data from the year 2000 onwards, i.e. for the last 20+ years history. There have been instances of bigger percentage falls in Sensex before 2000 that we will check out a little later.

So here it is.

Top 20 Biggest Sensex One-Day Falls (Crashes) in terms of Percentages since year 2000:

  • 23-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -3934.72 points (or -13.15%)
  • 17-May-2004 – Sensex fell by -564.71 points (or -11.14%)
  • 24-Oct-2008 – Sensex fell by -1070.63 points (or -10.96%)
  • 12-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -2919.26 points (or -8.18%)
  • 16-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -2713.41 points (or -7.96%)
  • 21-Jan-2008 – Sensex fell by -1408.35 points (or -7.41%)
  • 07-Jan-2009 – Sensex fell by -749.05 points (or -7.25%)
  • 04-Apr-2000 – Sensex fell by -361.48 points (or -7.15%)
  • 10-Oct-2008 – Sensex fell by -800.51 points (or -7.07%)
  • 18-May-2006 – Sensex fell by -826.38 points (or -6.76%)
  • 11-Nov-2008 – Sensex fell by -696.47 points (or -6.61%)
  • 24-Jul-2000 – Sensex fell by -275.32 points (or -6.17%)
  • 02-May-2000 – Sensex fell by -285.33 points (or -6.13%)
  • 14-May-2004 – Sensex fell by -329.60 points (or -6.10%)
  • 17-Mar-2008 – Sensex fell by -951.03 points (or -6.03%)
  • 13-Mar-2001 – Sensex fell by -227.24 points (or -6.03%)
  • 04-May-2020 – Sensex fell by -2002.27 points (or -5.94%)
  • 24-Aug-2015 – Sensex fell by -1624.51 points (or -5.94%)
  • 15-Oct-2008 – Sensex fell by -674.28 points (or -5.87%)
  • 21-Sep-2001 – Sensex fell by -161.54 points (or -5.85%)

Now if we look at the biggest Sensex fall data from the year 1990 onwards, i.e. for the last 30+ years of historical data, then here are the changes in the above table

Here it is.

Top 20 Biggest Sensex One-Day Falls (Crashes) in terms of Percentages since year 1990:

  • 23-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -3934.72 points (or -13.15%)
  • 28-Apr-1992 – Sensex fell by -570.42 points (or -12.77%)
  • 17-May-2004 – Sensex fell by -564.71 points (or -11.14%)
  • 24-Oct-2008 – Sensex fell by -1070.63 points (or -10.96%)
  • 12-May-1992 – Sensex fell by -333.68 points (or -9.76%)
  • 15-Oct-1990 – Sensex fell by -122.55 points (or -8.74%)
  • 06-May-1992 – Sensex fell by -327 points (or -8.41%)
  • 31-Mar-1997 – Sensex fell by -302.64 points (or -8.26%)
  • 12-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -2919.26 points (or -8.18%)
  • 16-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell by -2713.41 points (or -7.96%)
  • 01-Mar-1993 – Sensex fell by -212.4 points (or -7.63%)
  • 07-Mar-1991 – Sensex fell by -94.88 points (or -7.62%)
  • 21-Jan-2008 – Sensex fell by -1408.35 points (or -7.41%)
  • 07-Jan-2009 – Sensex fell by -749.05 points (or -7.25%)
  • 05-Oct-1998 – Sensex fell by -224.22 points (or -7.23%)
  • 04-Apr-2000 – Sensex fell by -361.48 points (or -7.15%)
  • 12-Nov-1990 – Sensex fell by -99.03 points (or -7.11%)
  • 10-Oct-2008 – Sensex fell by -800.51 points (or -7.07%)
  • 17-Apr-1999 – Sensex fell by -245.93 points (or -6.88%)
  • 18-May-2006 – Sensex fell by -826.38 points (or -6.76%)

So those were the Top 20 biggest single-day falls in Sensex in percentage and absolute points terms. No doubt there was complete mayhem in the markets on the days of these falls.

Further Reading – Biggest One Day Nifty Falls in History

And do note these are Sensex fall figures at the closing Sensex levels of the day. Generally, on such days, the volatility is quite high and Sensex touches even lower levels during the day, called intra-day lows. So out of curiosity, if we were to consider the biggest intra-day Sensex falls in history, then the order of falls will change a bit.

So here have a look at the biggest intra-day Sensex falls in percentage terms (since the year 2000):

  • 17-May-2004 – Sensex fell to intra-day low by -16.62%. But finally closed with a fall of -11.14%
  • 23-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell to intra-day low by -13.49%. But finally closed with a fall of -13.15%
  • 22-Jan-2008 – Sensex fell to intra-day low by -12.91%. But finally closed with a fall of -4.97%
  • 24-Oct-2008 – Sensex fell to intra-day low by –12.33%. But finally closed with a fall of -10.96%
  • 27-Oct-2008 – Sensex fell to intra-day low by -11.54%. But finally closed with a fall of -2.20%
  • 21-Jan-2008 – Sensex fell to intra-day low by -10.85%. But finally closed with a fall of -7.41%
  • 13-Mar-2020 – Sensex fell to intra-day low by -10.34%. But finally and surprisingly, closed with a gain of +4.04%
  • 22-May-2006 – Sensex fell to intra-day low by -10.16%. But finally closed with a fall of -4.18%
  • 10-Oct-2008 – Sensex fell to intra-day low by -9.61%. But finally closed with a fall of -7.07%
  • 17-Oct-2007 – Sensex fell to intra-day low by -9.15%. But finally closed with a fall of -1.76%

Further Reading: Sensex historical Annual Returns

Talking of the biggest market crashes in Indian markets, the markets in general fall of the cliff on any given day due to a variety of reasons. For example, the multiple biggest fall entries in the month of March 2020 were due to the pandemic. Then in other years, it was due to local events like sudden political changes in India or events like Demonetization or at times, other international events.

By the way, if you invest in index funds in India, then even these Sensex index funds too will replicate the 1-day fall pattern in their return profiles on the days of such huge Sensex crashes.

So that’s it.

There have always been big triggers that cause the highest fall in Sensex in one day. And some of the worst 1 day fall in Sensex were clubbed in events like the 2008 stock market crash, the 1992 stock market crash, pandemic 2020, etc.

Though no one can accurately offer anything about the next Indian stock market crash prediction, the fact is that looking at the historical biggest Sensex fall data in 1 day gives some perspective about what has happened in Sensex history and what range of falls might be store for the future worst Sensex one-day crashes or falls.

So now you know about the biggest fall in Sensex history (up to 2021). I hope you found this article that gave all the details of the biggest Sensex falls or worst single day Sensex fall in the last 20 and 30 years interesting.

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