Crude prices above 77 dollars in Asian trade

Oil prices soared above 77 dollars in Asian trade Monday, buoyed by strong Chinese industrial data and the closure of a key pipeline carrying crude to the United States, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, gained 75 cents to 77.20 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for October delivery advanced 49 cents to 78.65 dollars.

Strengthening Chinese industrial output was pushing up Asian equities as well as oil markets at the start of the week, said Victor Shum, senior principal of Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.

“Chinese industrial activity is shifting up and that is certainly bullish for the market, affecting both equities and oil,” he said.

Figures released by the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics last Saturday showed the nation’s industrial output gathering pace, rising 13.9 percent on year in August compared with 13.4 in July.

The September 9 shutdown of the Enbridge pipeline which transports crude from Canada to the US mid-west following a reported leak was also supporting prices, Shum said.

The pipeline provides 670,000 barrels per day or one third of Canada’s oil exports to the United States.

“Oil continues to be affected by this shutdown,” he stated.