The New Zealand sharemarket has opened sharply lower as overseas markets had their single worst session since the 1987 market crash.

The benchmark top-50 index opened down more than 480 points, about 4.7 percent lower.

This followed a 5 percent fall yesterday after the US imposed restrictions on travel from Europe to help halt the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

US and European sharemarkets fell by as much as 12 percent.

Australian shares are expected to fall sharply as well.

The turmoil has also caught the New Zealand dollar which has been sold as investors seek the safety of the American dollar and the Japanese yen.

The Kiwi is trading at 60.8 US cents, close to an 11-year low.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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