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Uranium, Two Pounds For A Benny

Commodities | Jul 24 2012

By Andrew Nelson

It was yet another dull week on the spot uranium market last week, marked by slim volumes and another minor price decline. As of Friday, a US$100 bill sporting the inscrutable face of Benjamin Franklin, will now buy you two pounds of uranium.

Industry analyst TradeTech reported just 3 transactions last week, with only 250,000 pounds changing hands. Of the three deals booked, one was conducted by a seller keen to move some stock, which exerted some minor downward pressure on spot prices.

Also affecting trading was news that Honeywell will not restart production at its Metropolis Works conversion facility, operated by ConverDyn. The company said the plant could remain closed for as long as 12-15 months in order to undertake safety upgrades ordered by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ConverDyn then came out and said that it is still evaluating the scope and timing of the improvements, along with its contract and delivery commitments, but hopes the shutdown will be temporary. In the meantime, 228 employees are to be laid off.

Whether the news is relevant or not to the daily grind of the uranium spot trading, it certainly did a good job of introducing even more uncertainty into what remains a very tentative market. The end result of low volumes, at least one motivated sell and new uncertainly was a US$0.25 decline in TradeTech’s Weekly U3O8 Spot Price Indicator to US$50.00.

There was no activity and only a little demand in the term market. None of it was new and all of it is coming from non-US utilities. TradeTech’s mid-term and long-term indicators remained unchanged at US$54.00 and US$61.00 respectively.

There were some signs of life on the conversion market, with offers coming in a bit higher given fears of an upcoming supply pinch because of the Metropolis Works. However, sellers stood pat in hopes offer prices will go even higher, so no sales occurred last week.

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