June 14, 2018 / 2:52 AM / 10 days ago

UPDATE 1-China May coal output hits highest since December

* Coal output rebounds on higher prices, rising demand

* Coal-fired power output up 10 pct on-year in May

* Coal prices have surged since May (Adds detail, background)

BEIJING, June 14 (Reuters) - China’s coal output in May hit its highest level since December, as miners quickened production to meet rising demand ahead of summer, government data showed on Thursday.

China produced 296.99 million tonnes of coal in May, up 3.5 percent from the same month last year, according to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

In the first five months of 2018, coal output reached 1.4 billion tonnes, up 4 percent from the same period the year before.

Heatwaves across southern China and strong growth in power consumption in industrial sectors fueled 10-percent growth in coal-fired power output in May, the statistics bureau said. Many households and businesses crank up air conditioners when the weather is hot.

China’s most active thermal coal futures prices have climbed more than 10 percent since May, marking their highest since late February at the close on Wednesday.

$1 = 6.3968 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Meng Meng and Aizhu Chen Editing by Joseph Radford

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