UPDATE 4-Brent oil up on China hopes, euro zone data weighs
* Weak euro zone retail data weighs on prices
* Early gains fuelled by hopes of stable growth in China
* Coming Up: U.S. EIA petroleum status report; 1530 GMT
(Updates prices, adds euro zone data)
LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil rose slightly to $110 per barrel on Wednesday on hopes that growth in top energy consumer China will pick up sooner than expected, while weak euro zone retail data limited gains.
Front-month Brent futures traded 13 cents higher at $109.97 by 1134 GMT, after losing nearly 1 percent in the previous session. U.S. crude added 21 cents to $88.71.
New Communist Party chief Xi Jinping said the Chinese government aimed to stabilise exports and make policies more targeted and effective, which prompted early strength in oil and equities.
"Chinese sentiment is pulling markets in general higher, and this is due to the statement from the new Chinese leadership with regards to maintaining a stable environment during 2013," Filip Petersson, an analyst at SEB in Stockholm, said.
Brent was still well below Monday's high above $112 per barrel, and price gains were capped as news of a sharp fall in euro zone retail sales increased worries about demand.
The volume of retail trade in the 17-member euro zone fell 1.2 percent in October from September, the biggest drop since April.
The euro zone's economy, which generates about a fifth of global output, slipped into recession in the third quarter of this year and is expected to contract for all of this year.
U.S. STILL IN FOCUS
Gains were also limited by worries that any delay in an agreement to avert a fiscal crisis in the United States may push the world's top oil consumer into recession, darkening the outlook for demand.
Obama and Republican lawmakers are locked in a battle over measures to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" at the end of the year, a program of $600 billion of spending cuts and tax increases.
The absence of such a deal could cut global oil demand by about 0.6 million barrels per day, JP Morgan analysts estimated in a report this week.
" We've seen months of these discussions going back and forth," Petersson said, adding that demand worries connected to the debates have limited effects today.
"We'll have to wait until there is something on the table that people can have a serious discussion about."
Political and civil unrest in Egypt and Syria and a running dispute between Iran and the United States over Iran's nuclear programme have threatened to disrupt exports from the Middle East, triggering worries about supply.
"Anything to do with the Middle East will underpin prices, but the big concern at the moment is the continuing tension with Iran," said Ben Le Brun, market analyst at OptionsXpress in Sydney.
Iran said on Tuesday it had captured a U.S. intelligence drone in its airspace, but the White House said there was no supporting evidence.
Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that total U.S. stockpiles dropped by 2.2 million barrels in the week to Nov. 30.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release its weekly data later on Wednesday, after analysts forecast a 300,000 barrel drop in U.S. stockpiles.
(Additional reporting by Ramya Venugopal in Singapore; Editing by Alison Birrane and Jane Baird)