UPDATE 1-S.Africa's Gold Fields posts 7% higher Q3 output; maintains FY outlook

(Adds annual production, cost outlook)

Nov 12 (Reuters) - South African miner Gold Fields on Thursday reported a 7% higher production in the third quarter, driven by the recent surge in gold prices as investors sought safety in bullion amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The bullion miner said attributable gold equivalent output rose to 557,000 ounces during the quarter ended September from 523,000 ounces during the same period a year earlier.

Gold prices climbed to record highs of above $2,000 an ounce in August and have cushioned miners from the impact of the pandemic.

The miner, which has operations in Ghana, Australia, Peru and Chile, maintained its full-year production outlook of 2.2 million ounces to 2.25 million ounces.

Gold Fields, however, said a second wave of coronavirus infections could disrupt production and might be a drag on its cost outlook.

The company said its net debt to EBITDA ratio as of September end stood at 0.68 times, compared with 0.84 times at June end.

Rival AngloGold Ashanti last week doubled its dividend payout ratio as profits soared and borrowings decreased on the back of stronger gold prices. (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru and Tanisha Heiberg in Johannesburg; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)