Next Auction Could Send Uranium Higher

No transactions were reported for the week ending February 9, according to Nuclear Market Review (NMR). As a result, the TradeTech spot uranium price indicator remained unchanged at US$75/pound. “Market participants are focused on the upcoming auction by a U.S. uranium producer,” wrote NMR editor Treva Klingbiel. She explained approximately 100 thousand pounds of U3O8 could be offered for sale by the end of February.

During this past week, several buyers submitted bids for 208 thousand pounds of U3O8 to a single seller. The U3O8, contained in an enriched uranium product, had been previously offered to the market. According to NMR, the seller “is now evaluating” those bids.

“There is going to be upward pressure on prices,” TradeTech chief executive Gene Clark told StockInterview. While uranium buyers want to lock in fixed price contracts, sellers want to be paid the going rate at the ‘time of delivery.’ Because sellers expect rising prices in the months ahead, “a significant gap exists” between them,” Clark told us.

Despite a quiet week absent any transactions or new demand, the existing demand remained firm. Klingbiel wrote, “15 utilities (are) currently evaluating offers or seeking to purchase almost 54 million pounds” in the long-term uranium market. Nine buyers continue to collectively seek 4.5 million pounds U3O8 equivalent. But Klingbiel also cautioned, “Approximately one-half of this demand is discretionary.”

While no transactions were reported in the conversion or enrichment markets, utilities are evaluating offers and sellers are evaluating bids in both markets. For example, one U.S. utility continues to evaluate offers received in January for delivery of almost 3 million SWU; another is evaluating December offers for 1 million ichiteck SWU. Long-term SWU remains at US$137.

Year-to-date (YTD) transaction volume is seasonally slow, but more quiet than usual. Over the past twelve years, YTD transaction volumes were higher, by early February, than in any other year except 1997.

TradeTech, through its predecessor NUEXCO, was the first organization to publish uranium prices, beginning in August 1968. After publishing the spot and long-term uranium price in Nuclear Market Review, TradeTech reports the weekly spot uranium indicator on the consulting service’s website.

Timing is everything for many of the junior uranium companies, and the timing of the next spot uranium auction may not get better than this. Many juniors hope to showcase their company’s developments and future plans at the annual PDAC Convention, often issuing their strongest news before the event commences.

This is the Diamond Anniversary event, being held in Toronto and starting March 4th. For 75 years, prospectors and developers have met to exchange stories, gossip and plans for the coming year. Teck Cominco (NYSE: TCK) is the diamond sponsor. Often, many of the juniors strongly rally into the first few days of the conference.

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