UPDATE 1-Europe, China lift McDonald's January comparable sales

Feb 10 (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp on Monday reported better-than-expected global sales at established restaurants for January as gains in Europe and China helped the company offset a sharp decline in the United States.

McDonald's, the world's biggest restaurant chain by revenue, said worldwide sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 1.2 percent last month. That was above the analysts' average estimate of a rise of 0.7 percent, according to Consensus Metrix.

But in the United States, same-restaurant sales, a closely watched gauge of performance, fell 3.3 percent, a deeper decline than the 1.6 percent drop that analysts expected. The company blamed the frigid cold and snow that hit large parts of the country.

McDonald's fared better elsewhere. Sales rose 2 percent in Europe, which edges out the United States as its biggest revenue market, and were up 5.4 percent in the Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa (APMEA) region, helped by growth in China.

Analysts expected Europe to be up 1.3 percent and for APMEA to rise 2 percent.

McDonald's, which is grappling with tougher competition and a lackluster global economy, warned last month that January sales would be weak.