LONDON (AFP) - Oil prices rallied Monday to their highest level since October as global equity markets soared on growing optimism over a worldwide economic recovery, traders said. New Yorks main contract, light sweet crude for October delivery, jumped as high as $74.81 per barrel a level last seen on October 20. It later pulled back to 74.53 dollars, up 54 cents from Friday. Brent North Sea crude for October climbed 14 cents to 74.33 dollars, having earlier touched 74.75 dollars. Prices firmed ... as optimism regarding the pace of economic recovery continues to permeate market sentiment, said Barclays Capital analyst Nicholas Snowdon. European stock markets rallied on Monday, with London nearing 5,000 points for the first time in nearly a year after Asian equities powered higher. On Wall Street, US stocks maintained their uptrend on Monday, extending a four-day winning streak that has pushed markets to 10-month highs amid hopes that the global economy has emerged from recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.65 percent at 1530 GMT. The oil market also got a massive boost on Monday from data out of China the worlds second-biggest energy consuming nation after the United States. The main data release (on Monday) has come from China, Snowdon noted. The data confirms the recent trend whereby Chinese apparent oil demand continues to grow at a fairly robust pace, driven by a combination of soaring refinery output and lacklustre net product imports. Apparent oil demand in July was above 8.0 million barrels per day (mbpd) for the second consecutive month, up 4.5 percent from the very high base of July 2008. All in all, Chinese oil data for July confirms that the pace of demand recovery remains firmly in place, he said. New York crude scored 2009 highs last week, rising above 74 dollars on Friday on the back of a weak dollar, an improved US macro-economic outlook and positive eurozone data, traders said. The US Department of Energy said last Wednesday that American inventories of crude fell by a massive 8.4 million barrels in the week ending August 14. That snapped a three-week run of gains and took traders completely by surprise, with the market having expected an increase of 1.5 million barrels. A slew of economic data released last week meanwhile suggested the US and eurozone economies were likely recovering, boosting hopes that energy demand in turn would see an uptick, analysts said.