By Greg Peel
We recall that the spot uranium price had run hard early in the year as speculators returned from their forced hiatus to pick up on one commodity which had been lagging in the great commodity price push. Uranium reached over US$70/lb before a bit of a pullback to the high sixties until the tsunami hit Japan. Those speculators subsequently bailed once more and the spot priced plunged on heightened activity before finding calmer waters of stalemate in the mid-fifties.
Having decided that speculator panic-selling had now abated, utilities came back into the market last week to pick up cheaper supplies. As industry consultant TradeTech notes, the utilities were also accompanied by uranium traders and speculators getting back in. Seven transactions were reported totalling 900,000lbs of U3O8 equivalent. As the week progressed, settlement prices ticked upward.
TradeTech has thus moved up its spot price indicator by US$1.25 to US$56.25/lb.
There were no new transactions or orders reported in the term market last week albeit TradeTech notes there remain several orders in the pipeline seeking sellers. The consultant's mid-term price indicator remains at US$59/lb and long-term at US$68/lb.
Impacting on uranium price sentiment at present is the plight of Energy Resources of Australia's globally significant Ranger mine. Production has ceased due to flooding and will remain that way for at least some months. The company has announced additional capex for water abatement measures but the fate of the mine is as yet unclear. The loss of Ranger production to global supply provides upside impetus for uranium prices.