Traders at VNDirect Securities Company's trading floor. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnamese shares extended losses for a third day on January 15 as global crude prices fell to fresh twelve-year lows, hurting energy stocks.

The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange dropped 1.8 percent to close at 543.04 points. The southern index has dropped 3.8 percent in the last three days.

The northern HNX Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange fell 0.4 percent to finish at 75.39 points, extending a two-day loss to 1.7 percent.

The energy sector index dropped 0.8 percent after crude prices set new twelve-year lows yesterday. US benchmark crude West Texas Intermediate (WTI) lost 5.1 percent to trade at 29.70 USD a barrel, while the London-traded Brent crude fell 4 percent to trade at 29.71 USD a barrel.

Local energy stocks fell, including PetroVietnam Gas Corporation (GAS), which inched down 0.3 percent, PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Services Corporation (PVD), which fell 1.3 percent, and fuel dealer Petrolimex Gas Corporation (PGC), which was down 1.9 percent.

Investor confidence was also undermined by further losses in Asian stocks following data showing a decrease in Chinese bank lending in December.

As a result, investors put heavy selling pressure on large-cap stocks, including dairy firm Vinamilk (VNM), which was down 0.8 percent, food and beverage producer Masan Group (MSN), which slumped 5.4 percent, and property developer Vingroup JSC (VIC), which fell 1 percent.

Financial firms also helped pull the market down. Insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH) slid 3.5 percent, Vietcombank (VCB) slipped 2.9 percent, and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BID) declined by 3.8 percent.

The same day, Vietnam's central bank raised the reference mid-point rate for its exchange trading band by 10 VND to 21,917 VND per dollar. However, local banks traded the dollar at lower rate than the day before. For instance, Vietcombank traded the dollar at 22,460 VND, a decrease of 20 VND.

The stock market traded nearly 172 million shares worth 2.2 trillion VND (98.4 million VND), a decrease of 19 percent from the day before and lower than last year's average daily trading value of 111 million USD.-VNA