* FTSEurofirst closes down 5.4 pct
* Worst one-day loss since late 2008, after Lehman collapse
* 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 Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - European stocks plunged on Monday after a rout in Chinese markets, wiping hundreds of billions of euros off their value and sending one benchmark index to a seven-month low.
Stock markets in Frankfurt and Paris fell 4.7 and 5.4 percent respectively. Athens’ market, already down, slumped 10.5 percent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 ended 5.4 percent lower, wiping roughly 450 billion euros ($521.42 billion) off its total market capitalisation - its worst daily closing performance since November 2008.
The index was down 7.8 percent at one point, its worst intraday loss since October 2008, just after the demise of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers. It closed above those lows but remained on course for its worst monthly loss since 2002. More than a trillion euros of its market value has been lost since the start of the month.
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.
“We have reduced our exposure to emerging markets equities, and in Europe to exporters such as carmakers. We believe there is a panic-selling mode at the moment, and we could see further falls,” said Francois Savary, chief strategist at Swiss bank Reyl.
The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources Index, whose constituents are mostly mining stocks, fell 9.3 percent and energy shares lost 8.1 percent. China is one of the world’s biggest users of metals and oil.
Shares in banks and asset managers also fell, and the Euro STOXX Volatility Index rose to its highest since late 2011 - more evidence of investor unease.
Some investors and strategists 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,” said Mark Evans, fund manager at Taube Hodson Stonex Partners.
“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,” he said.
Vincent Juvyns, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management, and Reyl’s Savary both expect the global economy to eventually recover from the Chinese sell-off, pointing to signs of growth in the United States and Europe.
However, Fidelity Worldwide Investment’s Dominic Rossi said stock markets may suffer more pain until investors see how central banks plan to respond to the sell-off.
($1 = 0.8630 euros)
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Alexandre Boksenbaum-Granier and Alistair Smout; Editing by Alison Williams, Larry King)