Australian news, and some related international items

Glut of uranium, prices plummet, Australian company Paladin’s share price drops 4.6%

burial.uranium-industryUranium Slides as Banks Reduce Outlook Amid Japan Delays, Bloomberg, 18 May 14 By Ben Sharples    Delays in restarting Japan’s nuclear reactors are prolonging a uranium supply glut that’s driven prices to an eight-year low, making banks from UBS AG to Credit Suisse Group AG less bullish on the fuel.

Uranium dropped to $29 a pound on May 2, the lowest since June 2005 and extending this year’s drop to 16 percent, according to TradeTech, a Denver, Colorado-based consultant to the nuclear industry. UBS reduced its 2014 forecast by 9 percent last month as Credit Suisse cut its projection by 7 percent.

Kansai Electric Power Co. (9503) and other utilities are taking longer than expected to restart reactors that closed after the Fukushima disaster in March 2011 as Japan’s nuclear regulator seeks more safety checks. While producers from Australia to Africa shut mines as prices retreated to unprofitable levels, Raymond James Ltd. is among those who say supply will still outstrip demand this year.

“There is too much supply floating around the marketplace and demand is highly limited,” said David Sadowski, a Vancouver-based analyst at Raymond James, a financial adviser, who cut his 2014 forecast by 14 percent to $36 a month ago. “Japanese restarts are the key catalyst to get utilities to resume long-term contracting, which should support prices.”

Uranium for immediate delivery averaged $33.93 this year, compared with $38.47 in 2013 and $46.27 in 2010, the year before the earthquake and meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant and subsequent closure of Japan’s reactors for safety checks. Uranium closed at $28.40 yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange………

Forecasts Cut

UBS reduced its 2014 forecast for uranium on April 9 to $39, while Credit Suisse cut its estimate to $38.80, according to an April 1 note. The exit of traders such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. from the market is also reducing transactions, according to Roswell, Georgia-based Ux Consulting Co.

Deutsche Bank AG is cutting back parts of its commodities business including uranium, Nick Bone, a London-based spokesman, said by e-mail May 7. Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs in New York, declined to comment in an e-mail on the sale of its unit trading the fuel………

Prices are below the marginal cost of production of $35 estimated by UBS. Paladin Energy Ltd. said in February it will halt its Kayelekera operation in Malawi while Russia’s Atomredmetzoloto last year shuttered Honeymoon in Australia. Kazakhstan, the world’s biggest producer, said in November it will halt all projects to increase output after the decline.

Paladin, which gets all of its revenue from selling uranium, fell as much as 4.6 percent today in Sydney trading………

May 19, 2014 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium

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