April 28 (UPI) -- Pro-oil U.S. legislation was supporting a rally for oil prices early Friday, though growth figures from the world's largest economy could throttle the momentum.
The American Petroleum Institute came out of the gate Friday praising President Donald Trump for handing the oil and gas industry victory after victory during his first 100 days in office.
"President Trump issued executive orders and presidential memorandums that put the Keystone XL pipeline back on track; allowed the Dakota Access Pipeline to be completed; opened access to additional federal areas for responsible energy development; and removed duplicative regulations that hinder energy production," API President and CEO Jack Gerard said in a statement.
Already producing more than 9 million barrels per day, executive action Friday could open up more acreage offshore. Capital could migrate back toward the energy sector, meanwhile, after Exxon Mobil reported its revenue more than doubled from first quarter 2016 on the back of cost-cutting and improved market conditions.
Crude oil prices were taking back some of their recent losses in early Friday trading, after the Thursday session saw declines at one point during the trading day of around 2 percent. The price for Brent crude oil was up 1.2 percent about a half hour before the start of trading in New York to $52.44 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was up 1.3 percent to $49.62 per barrel.
Offsetting energy sector gains during Trump's first 100 days in office was a report Friday from the U.S. Commerce Department that gross domestic product grew 0.7 percent in the first quarter, after a 2.1 percent gain in the fourth quarter, for the slowest quarterly performance in three years.
The Commerce Department said the decline was in part due to lower spending by state and local governments. Disposable personal income, meanwhile, increased 3.4 percent in the first quarter, compared to 4.1 percent in the previous term. Personal savings, however, increased 5.7 percent, against the 5.5 percent gain in the fourth quarter.
Crude oil prices may be impacted later in the trading day when oilfield services company Baker Hughes releases weekly rig count figures, which provide a loose indication of the investment appetite for exploration and production. Any gains from North America could drag on the Friday morning rally as analysis this week said U.S. production gains were undermining efforts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to balance the market through managed declines.