Donald Trump has fallen silent on Twitter amid the biggest single day US stock market dive in history.
The US president has become famous for boasting regularly that under his administration the Dow Jones Index has reached record level after record level.
But as Wall Street traders battled to take in an almost 1,600 point plunge at one stage – the largest point decline in history during a trading day – it was left to a White House spokesman to offer an opinion.
Even Fox News – a staunch supporter of the president – interrupted a live address by Trump hailing his track record on the economy to go to the woes on Wall Street.
Thanks to the historic TAX CUTS that I signed into law, your paychecks are going way UP, your taxes are going way DOWN, and America is once again OPEN FOR BUSINESS! pic.twitter.com/GISFbDDGXX
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2018
The falls in the US sparked similar collapses in markets across the world.
Shares on the FTSE 100 plunged to their lowest level for two years in early trading on Tuesday, after Asian stocks tumbled into the red overnight.
The value of leading shares in the UK’s largest companies fell 253.95 points, or 3.5%, on the opening bell.
Frankfurt and Paris also fell sharply when they opened on Tuesday with losses of up to 3% on the back of a 4.7% fall on Japan’s Nikkei 225 index.
The falls were all sparked by investors dumping stocks following the biggest US market fall for six years, down almost 5% on the day.
Trump has tweeted scores of times on the record highs the Dow has reached since stepping into the White House. He regularly bemoans “fake news” sources do not give him the credit for rebooting the economy.
During 2017, the Dow was up 25%, helped by a resurgent economy and strong corporate profits. He has hailed the 84 separate occasions the Dow broke new ground.
Unprecedented success for our Country, in so many ways, since the Election. Record Stock Market, Strong on Military, Crime, Borders, & ISIS, Judicial Strength & Numbers, Lowest Unemployment for Women & ALL, Massive Tax Cuts, end of Individual Mandate – and so much more. Big 2018!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
But last night a spokesman was forced to defend the strong fundamentals of the economy.
“It’s overall in a very strong place and its exorbitantly higher than it was when he took office,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told CNN.
“Even when there is one day of fluctuation, it is still in a really good place.”
Fox News was showing the president trumpeting his latest economic successes when it cut away to cover the 1,000 point falls.
“President Trump is not getting the credit he deserves for the economy. Tax Cut bonuses to more than 2,000,000 workers. Most explosive Stock Market rally that we’ve seen in modern times. 18,000 to 26,000 from Election, and grounded in profitability and growth. All Trump, not 0…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018
The sell-off began last week after data in the US showed stronger wage growth, which raised expectations that US interest rates might start to rise more quickly to tackle inflation.
Stock Market hits new Record High. Confidence and enthusiasm abound. More great numbers coming out!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
Jane Sydenham, investment director at the stockbrokers Rathbones, told the BBC: “I think these recent market falls are in the nature of a correction.
“What we have to remember is stock markets have had a very smooth ride upwards and we’ve not had a fall of more than 3% for 15 months. There’s been a real lack of volatility, which is very unusual.”
The FTSE regained some ground within the first 90 minutes of trading to stand 120 points off, down about 1.6%.