* FTSEurofirst down around 5 pct
* Euro STOXX Volatility Index hits new highs
* FTSEurofirst lost over 1 trln euros since start of month
* Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
* Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - European stocks slumped on Monday following a rout in Chinese markets, wiping hundreds of billions of euros off leading shares and sending one benchmark index to a seven-month low.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was down 5.1 percent to 1,354.98 points by the middle of the trading session, wiping off more than 400 billion euros ($460 billion) from the index’s total market capitalisation.
The FTSEurofirst was on course for its worst one-day percentage fall since a 5.2 percent drop in March 2009.
It also sank to its lowest level since January, having lost more than a trillion euros in market value since the start of the month as China’s devaluation of the yuan stoked fears of global economic deflation.
Chinese stocks plunged more than 8 percent on Monday, in their biggest one-day loss since the height of the global financial crisis in 2007, after Beijing held back expected policy support at the weekend following last week’s 11 percent slide.
“The events in China are clearly serious and demonstrate that the development model there is struggling to maintain growth,” Taube Hodson Stonex Partners fund manager, Mark Evans, said.
The STOXX 600 Basic Resources Index, whose constituents are mostly mining stocks, and the energy sector fell 7.2 percent and 6.3 percent respectively, as commodities slumped to multi-year lows, China being one of the world’s biggest users of metals and oil.
Shares in banks and asset managers also fell sharply, while the Euro STOXX Volatility Index rose 10 points to its highest level since November 2011 - more evidence of investor unease.
Nevertheless, strategists at JP Morgan Cazenove and Taube Hodson Stonex’s Evans said the sell-off may have been overdone.
“Momentum may carry developed markets lower - the U.S. in particular has risen so strongly and to such a high valuation that a correction was due,” Evans said.
“European markets have not re-rated to anything like the same extent and remain attractively valued in our view - though they too may sag a bit further.”
However, strategists at Societe Generale warned that their basket of European stocks with strong business ties to China, which includes carmakers and luxury goods companies, might come under more selling pressure in the near term.
($1 = 0.8705 euros)
Today’s European research round-up ($1 = 0.8686 euros) (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Louise Ireland/Ruth Pitchford)