The market started on a downtrend early Thursday morning when the JSE fell by almost 5% within ten minutes of its opening.
The news that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on Thursday further affected the rand.
Four more cases of the virus were announced Thursday morning, bringing the total to 17.
The rand is already R2.22 weaker than the R14.00 at which it traded against the dollar on 31 December.
One of the biggest losers on Thursday was Sasol.
Sasol’s share price fell to its lowest level since March 10, 1999.
It traded at R30.94 on the JSE on Thursday afternoon – a drop of more than 41% for the day.
According to data service Iress, the oil price fell by just over 8% to $ 33.12 a barrel.
Sasol says they are confident that they will be able to maintain a positive cash balance regardless of the oil price that has fallen dramatically.
The Top 40 index fell 5% on Thursday.