Uranium: Have We Finally Reached a Tipping Point?
Haven’t considered investing in uranium lately?
Can’t say I blame you.
Over the past two years, it’s been ugly.
- Uranium spot prices are down 41% since January 2011.
- The three largest publicly-traded uranium producers - France’s Areva SA (OTC: ARVCF), Cameco Corp. (NYSE: CCJ) and Energy Resources of Australia - have declined 64%, 48% and 90% respectively.
- The Global X Uranium ETF (NYSE: URA), which tracks the price movements of companies active in uranium mining, is down 65%.
Of course, the tipping point for nuclear energy’s decline wasJapan’sFukushimadisaster. This was about as bad as a nuclear accident gets.
But, as it often does, time can change everything.
On Sunday, December 9, Japan elected Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader Shinzo Abe to be prime minister.
In addition to “getting the Bank of Japan to pump liquidity into its economy,” as Investment U Senior Analyst Carl Delfeld pointed out a couple of weeks ago, he’s also mulling over Japan’s energy options.
And just 20 months after the previous administration vowed to abandon nuclear energy altogether, Mr. Abe wants to get back on track.
The National Journal reports that Abe’s been a critic of Democratic Party leader Yoshihiko Noda’s goals to cut nuclear power from Japan’s energy mix, citing them as both “irresponsible” and “unrealistic.” What’s more, Abe’s party (the LDP) is also known for its pro-nuclear energy stance.
Since the election was called just a few weeks ago, the Global X Uranium ETF is up about 10%. Uranium prices have ticked up 9%.
That’s a nice jump in such a short period of time. But this could be just the start for the sector over the next several months. As we reported last May, it was only a matter of time before Japan renewed interest in nuclear energy. As Rick Rule told us, it’s all about national security.
Beyond the Headlines
Then there’re the supply issues I wrote about in September. Namely, a treaty between Russia and the U.S. during the Cold War is going offline starting in 2014, and will cut 24 million pounds of supply out of the market. That’s about 16% of total annual uranium usage.
Producers don’t want to continue producing uranium with prices this low today, either. So, they’re cutting back on production.
All the while, demand continues to steadily rise.
Despite headlines about countries backing away from nuclear energy, David Tolbert recently told The Energy Report, “There are more reactors planned or under construction today than before the Fukushima Daiichi disaster...”
China has 77. India has 25. Russia has 24. The list goes on and on.
Two years ago,Japan was the tipping point for the falling out in uranium. Today, it’s the tipping point again. But this time in the opposite direction.
Bottom line: Nuclear energy isn’t going anywhere. In fact, demand for it is only rising around the globe. And stocks involved in the space look ready to climb out of the depths in 2013.
You can take advantage of this by looking at companies we’ve profiled in the past, such as Cameco, or diverse ETFs like Global X Uranium. But mainly, don’t get caught missing this boat altogether. It’s getting ready to set sail.