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China Southern Airlines profit jumps 17 pct to record high on travel boom, yuan

SHANGHAI, March 26 (Reuters) - China Southern Airlines Co Ltd set a record with a 17 percent rise in annual profit on Monday, following a year of robust travel demand and strengthening yuan.

China's largest carrier by passenger numbers said net profit attributable to shareholders in 2017 reached 5.91 billion yuan ($941.92 million). The result fell slightly short of the 6.6 billion yuan average of 17 analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Previously, China Southern Airlines best-ever net income result was 5.8 billion yuan in 2010.

The airline said revenue rose 11 percent to 127.5 billion yuan. It also booked 1.79 billion yuan in foreign exchange gains as the yuan has appreciated about 10 percent against the U.S. dollar since the start of 2017.

The weakened dollar has helped slash the financing expenses of China Southern as well as rivals Air China Ltd, and China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd , which used dollar-denominated loans to expand fleets.

China Southern also said its passenger yield fell 2 percent to 0.49 yuan per revenue passenger kilometre, while passenger capacity on domestic and international routes grew 9.63 percent. ($1 = 6.2744 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Brenda Goh Editing by Christopher Cushing)