* Extends gains after breaking above 100 day moving average
* Dollar on back foot after cautious FOMC minutes
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2017 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Saikat Chatterjee
LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) - The euro rose for a third consecutive day on Thursday after breaking through a key technical level when a flurry of European business surveys pointed to a strengthening growth outlook for the region.
Surveys covering both the services and manufacturing industries in Europe outshone even the most optimistic forecasters in Reuters polls, indicating growth is broad-based.
The euro was up 0.2 percent on the day at $1.1850 against the dollar and not far from a one-month high of $1.1862 set last week in a holiday-shortened week.
Trading conditions were thinner than usual on Thursday, with Japanese financial markets shut for a public holiday and U.S. markets closed for Thanksgiving.
“The economy seems to be on autopilot for now, not dependent on reform or leadership to the same extent as in 2003-04, when the euro zone required reforms and thus strong leadership,” Morgan Stanley strategists said in a note.
It conclusively broke above a 100-day moving average on Wednesday.
“There is a general trend of euro-positive sentiment going through the markets and that is keeping the euro firmly supported and the ECB minutes were along expected lines,” said Commerzbank currency strategist Esther Reichelt in Frankfurt.
The minutes of the European Central Bank for its October meeting didn’t yield anything new, with policymakers broadly agreeing last month on extending its asset purchase scheme.
It also chalked up steady gains against the Swiss franc and the British pound, respectively.
Meanwhile the dollar nursed losses after posting its biggest loss in five months on Wednesday as investors trimmed bets on the outlook for U.S. interest rate hikes next year, based on minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting.
With Chinese stocks down between 2-3 percent in Asian trade, low yielding currencies such as the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc remain firmly supported against the greenback as investors shied away from taking positions in a holiday-shortened week.
The Fed minutes, however, also highlighted concern among some of the members over the inflation outlook, with the emphasis placed on economic data in determining the timing of future rate rises.
The dollar edged 0.1 percent lower against a broad trade-weighted basket of currencies on Thursday to 93.15 after falling 0.8 percent in the previous session, its biggest daily percentage fall since June.
Chinese shares took a sharp hit in the Asian session with mainland indexes down between 2-3 percent, exacerbating investor caution and dampening risk appetite.
Reflecting the growing uncertainty about the future outlook for U.S. interest rates, an overnight rally in June futures contracts meant that markets were pricing in a U.S. Fed funds target rate of 1.58 percent by then, implying only 2 more rate hikes, below market consensus.
For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets (Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)