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Trump to shift biofuel blending burden off U.S. refiners sources

U.S. President Donald Trump intends to revamp the national biofuel program to ease regulations on oil refiners while providing new incentives for ethanol and biodiesel production, people familiar with the plan told Reuters on Tuesday. The news sent corn prices and refinery shares up sharply and renewable credits plunging. It also drew sharp criticism from some ethanol groups who said Trump’s regulation adviser, billionaire investor and refinery owner Carl Icahn, had engaged in self-dealing by pushing for the deal. The head of the Renewable Fuels Association said the White House had informed him that Trump intends to sign an executive order shifting the obligation of blending biofuels into gasoline away from refiners and further down the supply chain “to position holders at the terminal.” Refiners had long requested the change saying the country's biofuels program hits them with burdensome costs. Biofuel organizations and groups representing fuel retailers and integrated oil companies like the U.S. units of Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa. L) and BP Plc (BP. L) have opposed the change, which they say will complicate managing the program."Despite our continued opposition to the move, we were told the executive order was not negotiable," association Chief Executive Officer Bob Dinneen said. One source said the trade group was also told that the executive order would include incentives for ethanol and biodiesel in a tradeoff for the blending shift. Those changes could include a waiver to allow greater volumes of ethanol to be blended into gasoline in the summer, a review of how the Environmental Protection Agency estimates emission impacts of biofuels, and support for a congressional tax credit for domestic producers of biodiesel, the source said. The Renewable Fuel Standard requires that fuel companies use increasing amounts of biofuel blended with gasoline and diesel. Former U.S. president Barack Obama expanded the standard, which started under former president George W. Bush when gasoline prices were near records and a push for alternative fuels and breaking dependence on Middle East oil was just getting started.

A White House official did not respond to a request for comment. Chicago Board of Trade corn futures Cc1 were up about 4 percent, on pace for their largest daily gains since July. CBOT soyoil BOc1, which is used for biodiesel, was up 5.6 percent, headed for its biggest daily rise since Nov. 23, the day the EPA set targets for 2017 biofuel use. Meanwhile, compliance credits used to meet the annual biofuel blending standards tumbled to as low as 30 cents apiece on Tuesday from 47 cents to 48 cents previously.

"BACKROOM DEAL" Critics of the reported deal cried foul.“This backroom deal would severely undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard and force everyday Americans to shoulder the burdens of higher fuel costs and more expensive goods,” said a joint statement from the National Association of Truck Stop Operators and gasoline retailer groups."Making this change would only benefit a handful of companies at the expense of average, hardworking Americans.” Emily Skor, CEO of biofuel trade group Growth Energy, expressed concern about Icahn’s role.

OPEC compliance with oil curbs rises to 94 percent in February: Reuters survey LONDON OPEC has cut its oil output for a second month in February, a Reuters survey found on Tuesday, allowing the exporter group to boost already strong compliance with agreed supply curbs on the back of a steep reduction by Saudi Arabia.

Exclusive: ICE talking to former LME chief about new metals platform LONDON Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is looking into setting up a London-based metals trading system, industry sources familiar with the matter said, more than four years after its ailed attempt to buy the London Metal Exchange

Exclusive: Iraq's Kurdistan negotiates new terms, raises oil pre-payments to $3 billion LONDON Iraq's Kurdistan has increased the loans guaranteed by future oil sales to $3 billion in new deals with trading houses and Russian state oil firm Rosneft aimed at strengthening its fiscal position as the semi-autonomous region fights Islamic State.

Your money single moms by choice making the finances work

Monica Kipiniak doesn't think of herself as a statistic. She just thinks of herself as a doting mom. The 46-year-old attorney from Brooklyn, New York is indeed part of a societal trend: Single women by choice having kids past the age of 40."It used to be seen as such a radical thing," says Kipiniak, mom to a 10-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter. "But now it's almost commonplace. If somebody's not married by the age of 40, and they want children, they just go ahead and do it."Indeed, the numbers bear out her observations. Birth rates for unmarried women over 40 have been heading up in recent years, according to new data compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control. In fact, in 2012, the rate was a full 29 percent higher than just five years earlier. The reason why that figure leaps out: In other age groups, the rate of births to unmarried women has been heading in the exact opposite direction."The gist of the report was that nonmarital childbearing has declined recently," says Sally Curtin, a statistician and the report's co-author. "For all women under age 35, rates are down."To be sure, 'unmarried' can mean a lot of different things. It can mean single and never-married, or divorced, or coupled and co-habiting but not yet hitched. What is common to many over-40 single parents: The financial challenges involved."There's no question that raising two kids by myself in New York City is a struggle," says Kipiniak, who had children via anonymous sperm donor. "Often I'm flying by the seat of my pants, waiting at the end of the month for checks to come in."

After all, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a middle-income family having a child in 2013 will lay out more than $240,000 before the kid turns 18. And that's not even including college. Such costs are obviously towering, even for married couples comprised of two earners. For single parents who are raising a child on their own, the challenges can be even more formidable. Financial planner Carolyn Ozcan of Ithaka Financial Planning in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts helps many clients in this position and has tabulated some of the costs.* In-vitro fertilization, for moms who choose that route: $15,000 per cycle, sometimes requiring multiple cycles, which may or may not be covered by insurance.* Adoption: Between $10,000-$40,000.

* Daycare or nannies, since working singles may not have partners to help cover childcare gaps: Between $1,000-$2,500 per month. That means many single-mothers-by-choice are facing unique and significant costs right out of the gate. As a result, Ozcan says they need to be hyper-vigilant when it comes to planning and budgeting."A woman planning for single motherhood should have a sizable emergency fund," Ozcan says. "I would recommend a year's worth of living expenses, including childcare expenses in case of job loss or extended illness."Another tip from Ozcan: Secure disability insurance. It tends to be inexpensive if acquired through a workplace plan, and rather pricey for individuals ($200-$500 per month), but well worth it in the long run."The worst nightmare is for the mother to get an illness or injury that prevents her from working," Ozcan says. "If she could not work for years or ever again, she needs to have to have income protection to provide for herself and her child."

BABY BLITZ So what's behind the baby blitz among over-40 singles? A combination of medical advances and lessened social stigma of having a baby outside of marriage make middle-age childbearing more prevalent than in the past. It's also true that those who feel prepared for such a challenge are those who have been able to accumulate some financial resources, and are still in the prime of their careers."There is now less stigma overall linked with births outside of marriage," says Jennifer Manlove, a senior research scientist at the Bethesda, Maryland-based research center Child Trends."Nonmarital births are becoming increasingly normative," Manlove says. "And some of the largest increases have been to the most advantaged women - older women, white women, and more educated women."Even pop culture has been helping to expand traditional images of motherhood, with boldface names like Sandra Bullock and Charlize Theron raising kids as single moms. One key difference: Hollywood stars tend to have massive financial resources at their disposal. For regular folks like Monica Kipiniak, to achieve her dream of motherhood, it's been much more of a financial hill to climb."But one of the great things about becoming an older mom is that you're so grateful for it and love every moment," Kipiniak says.