SINGAPORE (Commodity Online) : World oil prices advanced above $74 a barrel in Asian trade Monday mainly after equity markets surged in the region.

Light sweet crude for July delivery was seen trading at $ 74.71 a barrel at 12.noon Singapore time while Brent crude was at $ 75.00 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange.

Equity markets across Asia gained momentum with Japan's Nikkei rose 1.7 percent as traders bet the region's strong economic growth will boost company profits.

Investors will be eyeing reports on U.S. housing starts, industrial production and consumer prices this week for clues about the strength of the global economy.

Oil prices rose 3.2 percent last week despite weak U.S. jobs and retail sales figures, a sign that suggests crude may continue to climb this week.

The dollar weakened about 0.6 percent against a basket of currencies .DXY, with the euro at a one-week high, while Japanese stocks rose led by the technology sector as the nation's manufacturers grew more optimistic about the business environment in the April-June quarter.

In other Nymex trading in July contracts, heating oil rose 1.60 cents to $2.0213 a gallon and gasoline gained 1.95 cents to $2.0692 a gallon. Natural gas was up 9.8 cents at $4.879 per 1,000 cubic feet.

On Friday, July delivery fell $1.70 to $73.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since June 8. The contract gained 3.2 per cent this week and is up 1.5 per cent from a year ago.

Brent oil for July delivery declined 94 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to settle at $74.35 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.