UPDATE 7-Oil dips in holiday-thinned trade on Gaza, EU data
* Chinese manufacturing grows for first time in 13 months * Supply concerns ease on Israel, Hamas truce, doubts remain * Euro zone economy outlook darkens, but some feared worse (Recasts, updates prices) NEW YORK, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Oil dipped in moribund trade on Thursday, as a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip eased supply concerns and gloomy manufacturing data for Europe tempered upbeat figures from China. With U.S. financial markets shut for Thanksgiving, thin conditions left oil prices adrift through the day. Some dealers questioned whether the ceasefire late on Wednesday that ended eight days of conflict between Israel and Hamas would last; others found reason for hope in data showing China's manufacturing sector saw expansion accelerate in November for the first time in 13 months. London Brent crude oil futures for January delivery slipped 31 cents or 0.3 percent to settle at $110.55 a barrel, off an intra-day high of $111.17. Some 50,000 lots changed hands, less than one-fifth as much as usual as most U.S. financial markets were shut for the Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. crude was down 23 cents at $87.15 a barrel at 1.30 p.m. EST (1815 GMT), with only 17,000 lots trading. The U.S. market will not issue a formal settlement until Friday. The Gaza ceasefire brokered by Egypt held firm on Thursday, but both sides said their fingers were still on the trigger. Schools remained closed in southern Israel. "I think it will last...but it seems as if the market is pretty sceptical," said Thorbjørn Bak Jensen, an analyst at A/S Global Risk Management. The holiday temporarily deflected attention from talks on the U.S. "fiscal cliff" - $600 billion worth of tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in 2013 unless agreement is reached on the budget deficit. Investors fear the measures could derail the U.S. economic recovery, and the focus is likely to return to the talks after the holidays. "Quiet Thanksgiving day... keeping one eye on the Middle East, and the other on the U.S. fiscal cliff," said Tony Machacek, a broker at Jefferies Bache in London. DATA SPLIT A day after the United States reported that manufacturing grew in November at its quickest pace in five months, data from other major economies offered a split view. The China HSBC Flash Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a 13-month high of 50.4 in November, the latest indicator of recovery in the real economy after data showing solid credit growth, firmer exports and rising industrial output in the previous month. The outlook for Europe in contrast was far bleaker, with business surveys showing on Thursday the euro zone economy on course for the worst quarter since early 2009. "Yes, there is bad data out of Europe, ... but Europe is basically priced in. The market is increasingly optimistic just looking at how equities are performing, good news out of China, it's all very constructive," said Seth Kleinman, global head of energy strategy at Citi. (additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla and Simon Falush in London and Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; editing by James Jukwey, Keiron Henderson and Sofina Mirza-Reid)
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