Market chaos just sent the European 'fear index' exploding to its highest level in years

Both Asian and European markets opened in pieces on Monday, with major declines recorded across the board — China’s Shanghai Composite has wiped out nearly all its gains for the year and European stocks are reversing the boom seen earlier in the year.

And volatility is surging to levels not seen in years.

The VSTOXX index that monitors volatility in European stocks, hit 35 on Monday morning, the highest since the 2012 euro crisis woes.

Its American cousin, the VIX or CBOE Volatility Index index (also known as the “fear index”) is currently at a level last seen in 2011. The VIX monitors volatility in S&P 500 options.

Here’s the European VSTOXX:

Here’s how the US VIX looks:

It’s still below the highs seen both in 2011 and 2008-09, but in comparison to the past few years it’s extremely choppy:

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