Uranium Price Continues with Bullish Behavior

priceUranium prices have been showing some sure signs of life these last few weeks. After floundering at a sub-$30-per-pound spot price, it's refreshing to finally see some upward movement. As UxC reported this week, the U3O8 spot price has inched its way up to $32 per pound.

Accounting for uranium's recent price rise are supply-side issues stemming from the fact that lower prices are forcing companies to shut down.

As UBS commodities analyst Daniel Morgan told The Sydney Morning Herald, "[t]here's been a few supply-side issues which has been enough for a very modest price rise. What the market really needs is a demand-side driver to get the price going and in my view we don't have one at the moment."

Nevertheless, shutdowns — like those at Cameco's (TSX: CCO,NYSE:CCJ) McArthur River and Key Lake operations — will mean a tightening of uranium supply across the board, and that has the uranium market taking its most bullish outlook since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan three years ago.

As Morgan Stanley analyst Joel Crane noted late last week, "[t]he reduction in sport supplies has led to increasingly competitive offers and bids in the market place, driving prices higher." Crane also pointed to increased signs of restarts coming from Japan, which is good for the market; however, the likelihood of high inventory levels held by utilities will likely weigh on sentiment.

Australia and India

Alongside the budding uranium price, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has arrived in India to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement that will bring the Southeast Asian country out of nuclear isolation and increase its uranium supply options.

India sources over half of its electricity from coal-fired plants and suffers from crippling power shortages. In light of that situation, the country has been trying to develop civilian nuclear energy as an alternative. With 20 reactors and a capacity of 4,780 megawatts — but only nine reactors operating at capacity — the country is in need of a secure supply of nuclear fuel.