Uranium Prices on the Rise As Unrest in Kazakhstan Continues
15:26 GMT 06.01.2022 (Updated: 15:31 GMT 06.01.2022)
Kazakhstan - the world's top supplier of uranium - has been rocked by nationwide protests for several days, after protesters took to the streets to demonstrate against the country's surge in gas prices.
Uranium spot rocketed on Wednesday amid the continuing unrest in Kazakhstan, surging around 8 percent to $45.25/lb, as shares in uranium companies in Canada and Australia rose, Bloomberg reported
, citing UxC market research firm data.
On 4 January, its price was just $42/lb.
As Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic producing almost 40 percent of the world’s uranium, struggles to cope with the ongoing unrest, “the potential for this to create a shortage is what people are now trading on”, Jonathan Hinze, president of UxC, told Bloomberg.
Zach Bristow of consulting company The Motley Fool wrote
that spot and futures for uranium shot up more than 65 percent to a high of $50.8/lb from August to September, as state giants in Canada and the European Union reshuffled the energy investments.
Bloomberg also said that the nuclear fuel made a "stunning comeback" in September, when prices surged 24 percent for the best monthly performance since late 2008 as investors predicted a renaissance for nuclear power as governments aim to replace fossil fuels for the sake of sustainability.
Although there is no immediate shortage of uranium or nuclear power plant shutdowns, the role of protest-hit Kazakhstan in the world uranium supplies can be "as though the Saudis had issues in oil”, according to UxC's Hinze.
As the central Asian nation continues to weather its civil storms, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) decided on Thursday to deploy its peacekeeping contingents in Kazakhstan after a request for help from the country's president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
The protests were sparked on 2 January by a dramatic surge in gas prices. During the week, the unrest has spread to other cities, resulting in disruptions of communications and restrictions of some travel, along with the damage of cities' infrastructure and hundreds of injuries.