* Bank of Ayudhya posts Q3 net profit of 6.01 billion baht
* Driven by net interest and fee incomes and recovering economy
* Maintains loan growth target of 6-8 percent for 2017 (Adds milestone, CEO comment, other details)
BANGKOK, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Bank of Ayudhya Pcl, Thailand's fifth-largest lender, raked in record high quarterly profits, driven by improvement in net interest and fee incomes.
The outlook for Thailand's banking sector has brightened with growth in Southeast Asia's No.2 economy beginning to find momentum on rising exports and consumption. The central bank said last month that banks had high capital adequacy ratios and the increase of bad loans had slowed.
"We expect the continuation of economic momentum, together with an expected seasonal rise in business for both retail and commercial lending," President and Chief Executive Officer Noriaki Goto said in a statement on Thursday.
For the three months ended September, the lender posted a net profit of 6.01 billion baht ($181.41 million), up 3.2 percent from 5.83 billion baht a year ago.
While this was lower than an average estimate of 6.1 billion baht from three analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, the profit was still the highest the company has reported for a quarter.
Growth was driven by a jump in net interest income to 17.3 billion baht, from 15.8 billion baht a year ago. Fee and service income rose about 9.5 percent to 5 billion baht.
Non performing loans ratio was stable at 2.16 percent, the lowest level since December.
Bank of Ayudhya, controlled by Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, reiterated it was aiming for a loan growth of 6-8 percent for 2017, with CEO Goto saying the increase would come in at the lower end of the range.
Shares of the bank slipped 0.6 percent by 0659 GMT, versus a small 0.2 percent gain in the broader benchmark index. (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng, Editing by Himani Sarkar)