Uranium Market Looking Up, Prices Holding SteadyToday’s industry comment from analyst David Sadowski of Raymond James reveals some good news for the uranium sector. Activity surged 2.7 million pounds on the spot market last week, with both spot and long-term prices holding steady overall, an improvement from the downward sentiment the energy metal has seen this year.

Spot uranium prices sat at US$31 per pound at the end of the week, while the long-term price held at US$44 per pound, the analyst said. That puts the spot price 8.8 percent up from $28.50, where it was at the end of July.

Sadowski points in his note to “US utilities requesting near-term-delivery” as one driver of the spot price, but remains only cautiously optimistic about uranium’s performance. He states, “[r]ecent strength in demand coupled with diminishing supply has driven prices higher; however, spot prices appear to have leveled off w/ the latest transactions below US$31.50/lb resulting in an unchanged weekly price.”

Still, there is room for improvement for the long-term price. As Sadowski notes, “there remains two outstanding term requests for 4.5 Mlbs due by month-end.”

Reactor restarts on the horizon

Sadowski also says in his note that Japan’s trade ministry is looking to mitigate rising costs tied to additional safety regulations for nuclear-generated electricity. In terms of restarts, a 30-day public comment period regarding the start of the country’s Sendai 1 and 2 reactors resulted in approximately 17,00 comments. These will be included in a final safety report for the reactors, which could be released as soon as September.

In China, the Fuqing No. 1 reactor is expected to come to commercial production in November and is now connected to the grid, while three remaining reactors are set to come online by March of 2017. In Belgium, two reactors will stay closed until at least spring of next year, and may shut down permanently because of weakened tanks.

Company news

Improved uranium market sentiment is helping uranium companies as well. MINING.com cites a research note from Haywood Securities in which the firm predicts a spot price of $39.50 and a long-term price of $57.50 for next year. Haywood also anticipates stock price improvements for the uranium companies it is tracking and notes that near-term producers have improved 25 percent so far this quarter. Meanwhile, uranium explorers have gained 15 percent since the start of last month.

Following that trend today were Fission Uranium (TSXV:FCU) and NexGen Energy (TSXV:NXE), which both put out more high-grade results from their projects in Canada’s Athabasca Basin.

Fission announced results from seven new angled drill holes at its Patterson Lake South property, with all returning wide mineralization. One hole in particular returned 103 meters of composite mineralization, including 10.45 meters of “off-scale” radioactivity. Notably, the drill results connect two zones of mineralization — results from one hole demonstrate continuity between the R780E zone to the west of the property and the R1155E zone to the east.

NexGen also reported ongoing drill results from its 100-percent-owned portion of the nearby Rook 1 property, with the first vertical drill hole at the property returning “exceptionally strong mineralization over significant intervals.” Hole AR-14-30 intersected 186.9 meters of total composite mineralization, including 53.85 meters of off-scale radioactivity.

NexGen’s CEO, Leigh Curyer, commented, “[t]his is an achievement by the NexGen team. AR-14-30 is a significant step forward in such a relatively short space of time in the development of Arrow. Our continued focus to optimize Arrow remains unabated. The geological basis for the Arrow discovery and the implications it has on the prospectivity of our land package.”

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no investment interest in any of the companies mentioned.