Markets went into Friday freefall with more than $7 trillion wiped off the value of the world's shares, and New Zealand was warned to brace for a global recession.
"It's a done deal," said the ANZ's chief economist. "The credit market has all but closed," according to Russell Investments.
Yesterday, central bank governors from the seven richest nations gathered in Washington DC to hammer out a five-point plan aimed at unfreezing the credit crisis. Led by the United States, the countries pledged to protect major banks, to stimulate credit flow and to support banks in raising money.
In New Zealand, the two contenders for the premiership will today explain their respective plans to fix the economy, in a brief breathing gap before markets reopen tomorrow.
Auckland is the engine-room of the nation's economy, and so it is that the prime ministerial contenders arrive in Auckland today to explain how they will retune that stuttering engine.
At carefully-choreographed election campaign launches, John Key and Helen Clark will try to persuade voters of their financial competence and restraint, as the global sharemarkets plummet to new lows. They were given little cause for optimism.
Friday saw all the major world markets tumble - in London the FTSE fell 381.7 points, or 8.9 per cent, to 3932.1. It was its second-biggest points loss ever, dropping below the 4000 level for the first time in more than five years.
On Wall St, the Dow Jones Industrial Average opened yesterday with an 8 per cent drop.
And at home the NZX50 dropped almost 5 per cent.
Cameron Bagrie, chief economist for ANZ, said: "There is no question now - we are entering a global recession. It's a done deal. For years the thing driving Anglo-Saxon countries has been massive consumption.
"We have an attitude of we want it and we want it now but now people have nothing saved for a rainy day. It's going to be tough but in the long run the economy will be better off.
"It's a readjustment, moving from a borrowing-based wealth to earning it. It will be stronger for it."
Alister Van der Maas, of Russell Investments, said the crises that hit the sub-prime mortgage market last year had now permeated the entire financial sector.
A global recession looked likely, he said.
"But for how long and how bad is another thing?
"No economist can give a steadfast prediction."
He did warn it could potentially hit New Zealand industries hard. "The credit market has all but closed.
"We consume through credit. If credit dries up we can't buy as much. Then that affects suppliers like China. They then have less demand for raw materials and the cycle continues.
"We are a commodity economy. What happens if China decides they don't want as much milk powder?"
The markets are expected to take some comfort from the G7 finance package, in Washington.
But Westpac's chief economist, Brendan O'Donovan, said it would not solve everything overnight.
"Even if authorities stop the current downward spiral the problems are not over."
He argued there was no choice but for Alan Bollard, the Reserve Bank Governor, to decrease the official cash rate at the end of the month.
"Whatever happened has still got a long way to go," O'Donovan added. "The credit markets will reopen but borrowing will be more expensive... Things are happening lightning fast."
At financial planner Moneymax, Liz Koh warned investors against rushing out and selling their shares.
"If you have a house and the market dips down, you don't quickly sell up. You hold on. The same thing applies here. Best strategy is to hold on and wait until its normal again," she said.
"A lot of people have been scared into selling. That's the wrong thing to do. "At times like this you need to be diversified and over the long haul you should be okay."
There were even opportunities to be had for some cashed-up investors.
"The current prices don't reflect shares' real value. They are not necessarily going to bounce back quickly. But over the next three to four years we can expect good growth."
As well as Labour and National, the smaller Act and United Future parties are also in Auckland today to kick off their election campaigns and offer their solutions for the economy.
Sir Roger Douglas, the former Labour finance minister whose name became synonymous with the economic reforms of the 1980s, returns to the stage today as a candidate for the Act Party.
He believes John Key is not doing enough to address the crisis, and wants to slash personal and corporate taxes and government spending.
Douglas said his prescription would allow New Zealanders to overtake Australia in the wealth stakes - seen as a pipe dream by most politicians. But Douglas said his policies could increase the average person's income by $500 a week - enough to make us richer than our Australian cousins in 2020.
Aged 70, Douglas would be unlikely to be around long enough to administer the entire course of medication. But he is confident of returning to Parliament and staying for two terms.
He would be 76 when he retired, but pointed out John McCain is even older - and he is running for president of the United States.