More than $35bn was wiped off the Australian stock market in the first hour of trading on Monday as investors brace for an increasingly likely Greek exit from the euro zone.
Both the S&P/ASX 200 and All Ordinaries quickly fell about 2%.
“Unfortunately this could probably be our worst day in two or three years – you’d probably be going back to 2011 or 2012,” an IG market strategist, Evan Lucas, said.
“It’s a very tough time and unfortunately nothing will be spared, except perhaps gold.”
The slide was spread across the market with banks, miners, retailers, healthcare providers and telcos all down sharply.
Gold stocks nudged ahead as investors sought out safe-haven investments.