LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – One of the surprise packets in the commodity space this year has been uranium, with the spot price surging 30 percent in the past four months, a stellar performance that may not be justified by current fundamentals.
Uranium stood at $26 per pound on Aug. 31, up from the low so far this year of $20, hit in mid-April. The year-to-date gain is 16.6 percent, and the metal used to power nuclear reactors is on track to record a second annual increase.
This looks like a strong performance on the surface, but uranium isn’t quite like other commodity markets and it’s worth delving down to try and fathom the underlying dynamics.
The most obvious factor driving the spot price has been supply cutbacks by major producers, namely Canada’s Cameco and Kazakhstan’s state-owned producer Kazatomprom.
Cameco said in July it would extend indefinitely a shutdown of its McArthur River and Key Lake mines in Saskatchewan province, having initially announced a suspension of operations in November last year.