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Don’t mistake a short burst in uranium market – the longterm outlook is no good

How Poor Is the Long-term Outlook for Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO)? The Motley Fool Matt Smith | December 27, 2018  “………it is becoming increasingly unpopular. This is primarily due to the dangers it poses during times of catastrophic failure, as demonstrated by the Fukushima incident. There are also concerns over the safe processing and storage of the radioactive waste that it produces.

Bullish analysts point to growing demand for the fuel and rising supply constraints as the reason to be optimistic for uranium and Cameco. This makes the demand side dynamics for uranium appear healthy, pointing to higher consumption which will bolster prices.

However, other nations are moving to reduce their dependence on nuclear power in favour of renewable sources of energy which in recent years have become significantly cheaper to install and operate. The inherent risks associated with nuclear power see France intending to reduce the share of its electricity generated by nuclear by 25% by 2025. Whereas Germany has measures in place to decommission all reactors by 2022 and South Korea intends to undergo a similar process.

According to analysis conducted by asset management firm Lazard, utility scale solar and wind generated electricity is significantly cheaper to produce than nuclear as well as coal and natural gas-fired power generation. This explains why a record level of renewable energy was installed during 2017 and most of that new installed capacity was composed of solar and wind. This points to a sharp deterioration in demand for nuclear power over the long term, particularly given that some of the reactors under construction will replace existing reactors that are to be decommissioned.

No analysis is complete without an understanding of the supply-side of the equation. Recent production cutbacks by Cameco and Kazakhstan’s state-owned producer Kazatomprom triggered uranium’s latest rally and those are likely only to be temporary. Both miners will boost output once uranium prices firm sufficiently to make the operations that they have shuttered economic to operate. Then you have nations such as Namibia, the world’s sixth-largest producer, which is aiming to boost production to benefit financially from uranium before it falls into disuse, becomes a stranded asset and loses its value.

The long-term outlook is poor

While the average spot price during the third quarter 2018 was higher than the equivalent period in 2017 Cameco’s revenue of $488 million was flat year over year. This can be attributed to much of the uranium sold by the miner being priced according to long-term contracts.  Cameco, however, reported a significant improvement in its bottom line, announcing adjusted net income of $15 million compared to a $50 million loss a year earlier.

The miner has also secured additional uranium deliveries during the fourth quarter 2018, which along with firmer prices, bodes well for Cameco to report stronger earnings. This will give its stock a short-term lift, but it appears that any lasting recovery may never occur. The reasons for this are simple: there is no sign of the bear market for uranium ending anytime soon. A combination of declining demand over the long-term and the potential for supply to grow significantly all points to uranium never attaining its pre-Fukushima prices. https://www.fool.ca/2018/12/27/how-poor-is-the-long-term-outlook-for-cameco-corp-tsxcco/

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December 28, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, Uranium

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