China stocks end higher on commodity boost as Fed reassures on rates

* SSEC +0.25%, CSI300 +0.49%

* Fed chief Powell reiterates inflation stability

* China investigates bulk commodity prices and supplies

BEIJING, June 23 (Reuters) - China shares closed higher on Wednesday, with commodity firms leading gains, as investors lapped up reassurance from the Federal Reserve chief that the U.S. central bank will not hasten to hike rates. ** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.25% at 3,566.22, rising for the third consecutive session. The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.49%. ** Leading the gains, the sub-index for non-ferrous metal sector gained 1.68% while the coal sector sub-index surged 3.48%, according to Sina Finance. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.69% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.126%.

** Lifting investors’ risk appetite was Fed chief Jerome Powell’s reassurance of the goal of a broad labour market recovery while he also said fear of inflation alone would not be enough to prompt rate rises.

** Chinese coking coal futures jumped more than 5% on Wednesday, extending gains to a second straight session, on supply concerns as safety inspection by authorities halted production at some mines.

** China’s state planner said it and the market regulator have recently sent teams to various areas to look into commodities prices and supplies and would learn about mid- and downstream companies’ situations.

** Automakers were among the largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index with both Liaoning SG Automotive Group Co Ltd and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Corp Ltd rose by the daily limit of 10%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.85%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.03%. ** At 0705 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.483 per U.S. dollar, 0.04% weaker than the previous close of 6.481. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)