March 1, 2011

Uranium Rises 1.5% As Supplies Show Signs Of Thinning, UxC Says

Published on Tuesday March 01 2011

Uranium prices gained 1.5 percent as supplies of the nuclear fuel in the spot market show signs of thinning, according to Ux Consulting Co.
Uranium-oxide concentrate for immediate delivery traded at $69.75 a pound in the seven days ended yesterday, up from $68.75 the week before, UxC said in an e-mailed report today, based on the most competitive offer tracked by the Roswell, Georgia-based company. That compares with $72.25 on Feb. 15, according to UxC.

“Indications show that price is beginning to firm,” UxC said. “Not only are offers up, but they are showing a stepped progression with higher prices in later months. Spot activity continues, with the supply side once again thinning.”

Uranium prices, which rose to a record $136 a pound in 2007 before falling to about $40, have gained since mid-2010 as China increased the use of nuclear power to curb emissions from burning coal. 

More than 150 new reactors are planned worldwide by 2030, with China expected to add 110 units, according to data compiled by the World Nuclear Association.

Prices of uranium climbed 17 percent in January and fell 4.5 percent last month. 
Selling from China contributed to the February decline, according to UxC.

“As spot prices started to fall, additional demand entered the market, picking up a good bit of this supply,” UxC said. “While both sides of the market still appear to be generally thin, spot volume continues to rack up.”

Nuclear-power utilities buy the bulk of their uranium for processing into fuel from mining companies, with the contracts mostly extending beyond a year. The immediate delivery, or spot market, allows trading for delivery within a year and includes financial investors. The U.S. government also periodically conducts auctions to reduce stocks. 

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