is some softening in the spot price of uranium in the U.S., according to
a number of analysts, who now see the price of U3O8 somewhere in the range
of $8.50-$8.75/pound. This is down from the range seen last month when
analysts said the price was close to $9/lb U3O8. After several months of
brisk sales and rising prices (from historic real-dollar lows), sellers
"are growing apprehensive about the current lack of demand," said one analyst.
In the enrichment market, buyers and sellers are awaiting the Department
of Commerce's preliminary determination July 5 on the amount of antidumping
duties the department will assess on enriched uranium sold in the U.S.
by European enrichers Urenco and Eurodif. If the preliminary dumping duties,
which would be added to the preliminary countervailing duties already assessed,
are relatively high as requested by U.S. enricher USEC Inc. then the current
spot price in the U.S. of $105/SWU may rise, analysts said. If the duties
are low--less than 10%--then the spot enrichment price for separative work,
or SWU, could drop by several dollars. But even with the threat of duties
on its imports, Urenco has managed to beat out USEC recently for new business
at one U.S. utility (a long-term Urenco customer) . Market sources also
said that traders and others are busy looking at ways of getting around
any U.S. import duties by bringing in enriched uranium in a form not covered
by the trade case (uranium oxide, or UO2, for instance).