* Utilities on coal buying spree to generate more power
* Jan-June imports up 10 pct
* China relaxed customs check to let in foreign coal-traders (Adds details on imports data, background)
BEIJING, July 13 (Reuters) - China’s coal imports in June rose 18 percent from a year ago to 25.47 million tonnes, according to customs data on Friday, as utilities went on a buying spree to shore up electricity generation.
June’s imports also rebounded from 22.33 million tonnes in May, the data from the General Administration of Customs showed, after traders said China relaxed customs checks to let in foreign supplies.
Robust imports led to higher inventories at port and power plants, easing worries that China’s electricity output might not be able to meet surging demand from provinces such as Hebei and Shandong due to hot weather.
Major Chinese cities such as Wuhan in Hubei and Hefei in Henan province last month reported heavy loads on their power grid and indicated that they might started rationing electricity.
In the first half, coal imports rose to 146.19 million tonnes, up 10 percent from a year earlier, data showed.
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Reporting by Meng Meng and Aizhu Chen