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Uranium Week: Shutdown

Weekly Reports | Jan 23 2018

Inaction by the US government is assuring the uranium spot market is also as good as shut down.

By Greg Peel

It is ironic, the analysts at uranium industry consultant TradeTech suggest, that the US government itself would shut down, given the US government has as good as shutdown the US uranium spot market.

Last week, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission failed to adopt a proposal to revitalise US electrical grid. This week US uranium producers Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy filed a petition with the US Department of Commerce, which states that uranium imported from “state-sponsored producers” threaten the viability of the US uranium industry. The petition calls on the Department and US President Donald Trump to consider a remedy that will restore the viability of the US uranium industry and its related infrastructure.

One might presume such a request hits the Trump philosophy nail right on the head, to the detriment of Borat and friends, among others.

The uranium spot market is extremely preoccupied with the potential for new and ongoing US government involvement in the nuclear fuel market, TradeTech notes, but in the meantime transactional activity remains slow. The market remains uncertain as to just what impact production cutbacks announced last year, from the likes of Cameco, ConverDyn and (state-sponsored) Kazatomprom, will have on uranium pricing in 2018, as well as uncertain with regard support, or otherwise, from US federal and state legislatures.


We could also throw in uncertainty with regard divergence between Japanese federal, prefectural and local legislatures in their views towards reactor restarts. Although “uncertainty” may not be the right word. We can be pretty certain the pace of restarts will remain glacial at best, and as such provide no notable impact on the demand-side of the market.

Japanese utilities still have plenty of uranium stockpiled anyway, as does China, ahead of its accelerating reactor build program. Hence supply-side cutbacks are fundamental to price setting in 2018, at least for now.

Stasis led to only four transactions being completed in the uranium spot market last week, totalling 400,000lbs U3O8 equivalent. TradeTech’s weekly spot price indicator has fallen -US35c to US$23,30/lb.

TradeTech’s term price indicators are unchanged at US$28.00/lb (mid) and US$31.00/lb (long).

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