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Uranium Outlook 2022: Prices Have Broken Out, How High Will They Go?

Click here to read the previous uranium outlook.2021 was another breakout year for uranium prices. Following 2020’s growth, prices for the energy fuel climbed 45 percent, rising from US$29.63 per pound in January to US$50.63 in September, a nine year…

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Click here to read the previous uranium outlook.

2021 was another breakout year for uranium prices.

Following 2020’s growth, prices for the energy fuel climbed 45 percent, rising from US$29.63 per pound in January to US$50.63 in September, a nine year high and a critical threshold for explorers, developers and producers.

Although prices were unable to maintain that level, values have been able to remain above US$40 in the months since then. As one of the few commodities to register two solid years of gains amid the pandemic, many analysts are of the belief that higher uranium prices are here to stay.


This idea has been bolstered by rising demand for clean energy, specifically the need for carbon-free electricity.

“Globally, nuclear continues to account for 10 percent of total electricity and is the second largest source of carbon-free power,” said John Kotek, vice president of policy development and public affairs at the Nuclear Energy Institute. “While that number won’t change much in the near term given the number of nuclear reactors under construction today, the interest we’re seeing in new nuclear construction coupled with the increasing drive to decarbonize gives us confidence that share will grow over time.”

Kotek also noted that recent analysis by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Energy Agency and others reinforces the expectation that world nuclear generation capacity will increase significantly by 2050.

This growth will be facilitated by new reactors coming online and joining the current global fleet of 445 reactors.

“There is a clear need for new generating capacity around the world, both to replace old fossil fuel units, especially coal-fired ones, which emit a lot of carbon dioxide, and to meet increased demand for electricity in many countries,” a 2021 report released by the World Nuclear Association states. “In 2018, 64 percent of electricity was generated from the burning of fossil fuels.”

There are now 50 new nuclear reactors under construction, with the majority being erected in China.

However, with current supply unable to meet demand, there have been talks of countries stockpiling uranium for domestic use. This topic was raised during Donald Trump's presidency, when the former head of state proposed a domestic stockpile to fuel the country’s nuclear reactors and military applications.

What other factors are important to the uranium outlook today? The Investing News Network (INN) spoke with expert market watchers to get their thoughts about the year ahead. Here's what they had to say.

Uranium outlook 2022: Will a 2007-style rally happen again?


Constrained supply in a sector that was already battling headwinds before the pandemic will likely lead to more uranium price upside in 2022. Whether values follow a path similar to 2007, when a confluence of issues catapulted the commodity to an all-time high, remains to be seen.

At that time, U3O8 underwent a massive surge from US$45 to US$139 in just 12 months. The spot price for the energy fuel currently stands at US$44.10.


25 year uranium price chart


The conditions from 2007 don’t apply this time around, and Lobo Tiggre, founder and CEO of IndependentSpeculator.com, noted that a different set of factors will be important to watch next year.

“There was no Kazatomprom holding super-cheap supply back voluntarily back then," Tiggre told INN. "And Cameco’s (TSX:CCO,NYSE:CCJ) production was down because its key mine, Cigar Lake, was flooded. Not so this time. And there weren’t companies and funds sitting on enough pounds to fuel entire countries back then either.”

Those funds include the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust (TSX:U.UN), which has purchased more than US$1 billion worth of uranium since debuting partway through 2021, and ANU Energy OEIC, a physical uranium fund launched in October by Kazakhstan's Kazatomprom (LSE:KAP).

Tiggre explained that the Sprott trust could serve as either a price catalyst or a headwind. “(It) could reignite the fire, but the real catalyst this market needs — and should soon see — is utilities coming to the table to sign long-term supply contracts with miners,” he said. “Until that happens, it’s all noise and thunder. When it happens, an industry that’s currently insolvent turns positive again and should be able to deliver for shareholders.”

On the flip side, Tiggre warned that the Sprott-initiated spot price rally may be unsustainable.

“The (Sprott trust) phenomenon may have sent spot prices up higher than they 'should' be until those long-term contracts put a real floor under this market,” he said. "That makes the spot market vulnerable to correction — especially if funds that bought in the US$20s and US$30s decide to become sellers in the US$40s.”

He also pointed out, “And, as always, there is always a chance a major nuclear accident will torpedo the entire sector. Bulls who are convinced uranium will go to triple digits should never forget this.” Prior to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, U3O8 prices had touched US$70 before steadily falling to 2016’s low of US$17.95.

As Tiggre noted, utilities coming to market is a major move that the sector is anticipating, because the primary end use of U3O8 is the fueling of nuclear reactors.

For his part, Gerardo Del Real of Digest Publishing believes utilities companies will begin purchasing once the price ticks higher. Of course, investors who want to ride the uranium wave will want to get in before that happens.

“They'll come to market when the price goes higher, because that's what the utilities do,” he said. “It's always amazing to me that the 'buy low, sell high' equation is one of the simplest equations in history. Yet it's so hard for people to get that part right. Because nobody wants to buy at the lowest because it's not attractive, it's not fun.”

He continued, “But man, is it profitable to buy at the low, hold and just wait for it to turn, especially if you're getting in on some of the better names and understand the leverage that comes with being early.”

Uranium outlook 2022: Energy correlation key to value


While gold is tied to monetary policy and the US dollar, uranium also has correlations, primarily to energy.

“Uranium marches to the beat of a very different drummer,” Tiggre said. “It will often suffer or enjoy knee-jerk reactions to news markets see as good or bad for energy, but this is usually a short-lived mistake. Consumers spending less on gas is a very different thing from utilities deciding to pull the plug on base-load energy.”

Frank Holmes, CEO and chief investment officer at US Global Investors (NASDAQ:GROW), believes the uranium market is heavily correlated to oil and gas, and is wary of the discourse around clean and green energy, especially from countries that are heavy users of coal and fossil fuels.

“What happens is a lot of these social, politically correct policy makers do not look at the law of unexpected consequences. They don't look at the collateral damage, they only see that it's going to be their utopia, but without cost,” Holmes said. “There's no free lunch on the periodic table.”

Undoubtedly, the movements of the energy sector will influence the uranium space; however, for Del Real uranium's correlation to the nuclear fuel market and utilities companies will be the key driver.

“When I look at the fact that there are 52 nuclear reactors that are under construction, (and) 120 additional ones already having their plants completed, and I look at more than 300 others that are being contemplated,” he said. "And then you consider that the utilities, which are the largest consumer of uranium, haven't even stepped off the sidelines ... I am extremely bullish on the uranium price and its ability to go higher in 2022."

Del Real also sees investment demand being a significant influence on future prices, and suggested investors look at uranium as an asset class similar to gold.

“We often get stuck in being gold bugs, or just uranium bugs, or just US dollar bugs. And, you know, there's so many different ways that you can balance out a portfolio,” he said.

“Personally, I have copper names, I have uranium names, I have gold names, physical gold and lithium names. I would just caution people to not be so married to one idea, right? We can do a couple of things at a time. And we can do those things well, if we're just paying attention.”

Uranium outlook 2022: Price expectations next year


As one of the few commodities to register two consecutive years of gains during the pandemic, uranium is poised to rise even more in 2022 — but by how much?

“I think it'll overshoot to that US$200 level, and then you're going to get one of those 50 percent retractions where it comes back to that US$100 to US$110 level,” Del Real said.

He went on to explain that the higher price point will incentivize new production to come online, which could meet the expected demand. “And then at that level, the projects that are better — sustainable and scalable — will rise to the top, and those are going to be the winners in the market,” Del Real said.

Tiggre of IndependentSpeculator.com gave a more conservative price forecast.

“My expectation is for the spot price to continue making big moves, two steps forward, one step back, until it hits at least US$60, but probably US$70,” he said.

“After that, it may or may not spike, but long term, I expect it to settle in this range (adjusting for inflation). And that will be just fine for the better exploration, development and mining companies.”

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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Report: Pfizer, NIH Discussing Study of Longer Paxlovid Dosing Regimen

With increasing concerns about COVID-19 reinfection, Pfizer and the National Institutes of Health are discussing potential studies regarding a longer treatment…

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Report: Pfizer, NIH Discussing Study of Longer Paxlovid Dosing Regimen

With increasing concerns about COVID-19 reinfection, Pfizer and the National Institutes of Health are discussing potential studies regarding a longer treatment period with the antiviral medication, Paxlovid.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and scientific adviser to the White House, said the plan for the new studies could come over the next few days, Reuters reported this afternoon. During a White House briefing on COVID-19, Fauci pointed out that the rising cases of COVID-19 driven by an Omicron sub-variant are increasing the use of Pfizer’s Paxlovid. So far, more than 660,000 courses of Paxlovid have been administered across the U.S., Reuters said.

However, there is a growing concern that some patients are not shaking the virus as quickly as expected following a treatment regimen of the antiviral. Some continue to experience symptoms, or see a recurrence of their COVID-19 symptoms, following treatment with Paxlovid, Reuters said. Currently, there is no clear indication on the number of patients who are experiencing such a recurrence, or whether or not it is due to the variant type of COVID-19. But, the numbers appear to be enough to warrant such a conversation between America’s top infectious disease expert and Pfizer.

Paxlovid was granted Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December. It was granted EUA for the treatment of high-risk adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are at serious risk of hospitalization. A combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir tablets, during clinical trials, Paxlovid significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% compared to placebo in non-hospitalized, high-risk adults with COVID-19 within three days of symptom-onset. However, even then, there were cases of a recurrence of symptoms in some clinical trial patients.

Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla has suggested that those patients who experience a recurrence of symptoms should undergo a second round of treatment with Paxlovid. As BioSpace previously reported, Bourla said if symptoms reoccur, “then you give a second course, like you do with antibiotics, and that’s it.”

However, the FDA has balked at that suggestion. Dr. John Farley, director of the FDA’s Office of Infectious Diseases, argued that there is no evidence of benefit for a longer course of treatment, such as 10 days instead of the current five days of administration, or a second five-day round of treatment.

Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock

While Pfizer may undertake these additional studies, as BioSpace reported earlier Wednesday, the pharma giant has so far reportedly resisted requests to use Paxlovid in combination studies. The nonprofit Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative said that Pfizer rejected a January request to offer doses of Paxlovid to be used in a study alongside an inhaled steroid in Africa.

Also Wednesday, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly said studies have confirmed that bebtelovimab, the company’s monoclonal antibody against COVID-19, is effective against all variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including BA.2, which is currently the dominant strain in the U.S., Seeking Alpha reported.

 

BioSpace source:

https://www.biospace.com/article/pfizer-nih-in-talks-to-begin-study-of-longer-paxlovid-dosing-regimen

 

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Missouri Bill Prevents Doctors Being Disciplined If They Prescribe Ivermectin Or Hydroxychloroquine

Missouri Bill Prevents Doctors Being Disciplined If They Prescribe Ivermectin Or Hydroxychloroquine

Authored by Naveen Athrappully via The…

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Missouri Bill Prevents Doctors Being Disciplined If They Prescribe Ivermectin Or Hydroxychloroquine

Authored by Naveen Athrappully via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Missouri lawmakers passed legislation that prevents state licensing boards from disciplining doctors who prescribe ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signs a bill in Jefferson City, Mo., on May 24, 2019. (Summer Balentine/AP Photo)

Sponsored by Rep. Brenda Kay Shields (R-Mo.), HB 2149 also bars pharmacists from questioning doctors or disputing patients regarding the usage of such drugs and their efficacy.

With a convincing 130–4 vote in the House, HB 2149 passed both chambers on May 12 and currently heads to the office of Gov. Mike Parson to be potentially signed into law.

The board shall not deny, revoke, or suspend, or otherwise take any disciplinary action against, a certificate of registration or authority, permit, or license required by this chapter for any person due to the lawful dispensing, distributing, or selling of ivermectin tablets or hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets for human use in accordance with prescriber directions,” reads the draft of the bill (pdf).

It adds, “A pharmacist shall not contact the prescribing physician or the patient to dispute the efficacy of ivermectin tablets or hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets for human use unless the physician or patient inquires of the pharmacist about the efficacy of ivermectin tablets or hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets.”

Critics of the bill have noted that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not given approval for usage of the drugs. Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine have been divisive drugs and politically polarized throughout the pandemic.

“But, nevertheless, the Missouri legislature has chosen to ‘own the libs’ by issuing a gag order against every pharmacist in this state from offering their medical opinion on taking either one of those medications—even if it could kill their patient,” wrote former Democratic nominee Lindsey Simmons in a May 12 Twitter post.

Although 22 countries across the world have approved the use of ivermectin in treating COVID-19, the FDA maintains that the current data show the drug to be ineffective. Large doses can be dangerous, it says.

A recent study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases analyzed a national federated database of adults that compared ivermectin with the FDA-approved COVID-19 medication, remdesivir.

After using propensity score matching and adjusting for potential confounders, ivermectin was associated with reduced mortality vs remdesivir,” researchers wrote. “To our knowledge, this is the largest association study of patients with COVID-19, mortality, and ivermectin.”

According to The Associated Press, Missouri state Rep. Patty Lewis, a Democrat, agreed to the bill to satisfy a group of conservatives in the Senate. She added that the bill will not change anything significantly as medical boards do not engage in punishing doctors who prescribe drugs legally.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/18/2022 - 23:25

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“They Shut Us Down”: Michigan Businesses Sue Whitmer For Losses Due To COVID Lockdowns

"They Shut Us Down": Michigan Businesses Sue Whitmer For Losses Due To COVID Lockdowns

Authored by Steven Kovac via The Epoch Times (emphasis…

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"They Shut Us Down": Michigan Businesses Sue Whitmer For Losses Due To COVID Lockdowns

Authored by Steven Kovac via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A coalition of five bowling alleys and family entertainment centers is suing Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, for losses incurred due to her mandatory COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer listens to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in Clawson, Mich., on March 18, 2019. (Paul Sancya/AP)

Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services director Robert Gordon is also a defendant in the case.

The plaintiffs allege that the shutdowns imposed by Whitmer and Gordon were a “taking” of their businesses without just compensation in violation of both the state and the U.S. Constitution.

The case has been winding its way through the federal courts since January 2021.

Fred Kautz runs the lane oiler at Kautz Shore Lanes in Lexington, Mich., on May 13, 2022. (Steven Kovac/The Epoch Times)

The coalition lost the first round of the legal battle when the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan ruled against it.

Oral arguments were recently held before a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit.

Plaintiff’s chief counsel David Kallman told The Epoch Times after the appeals court hearing, “The oral arguments from both sides were vigorous. The judges asked a lot of questions. It was the kind of proceeding that makes you proud to be a lawyer.

“Even the defense acknowledges that we are presenting ‘novel’ arguments.

“Michigan is the only state in the nation where a governor’s public health emergency powers were overturned as unconstitutional.

“If we lose in the court of appeals, we will take this case to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Scott Bennett, executive director of the Independent Bowling and Entertainment Centers Association, told The Epoch Times,

“The governor’s actions were devastating to our industry.

“Things went from ‘two weeks to slow the spread’ to indefinite shutdowns.”

Bennett said that the forced closures were not based on solid scientific proof that bowling alleys and family entertainment centers would spread the virus any more than the Walmart stores or the GM plants that were allowed to remain open.

“They were allowed to operate with hundreds and even thousands of people in them but we had to shut down. We feel our industry was unfairly singled-out.

“We cannot stand for a repeat of such arbitrary treatment and don’t want the people of Michigan to forget what was done to them.”

With the recent uptick in COVID cases and the approaching mid-term elections, Bennett said his members that survived the 2020 shutdowns feel like it can happen all over again.

“It’s like operating day-to-day with a hammer held over your head. The uncertainty is altering business plans. The value of our businesses is dropping through the floor,” Bennett said.

Brian and Mindy Hill work the counter at their bowling alley in Imlay City, Mich. on May 13, 2022. (Steven Kovac/Epoch Times)

Fred Kautz, the proprietor of Kautz’s Shore Lanes in Lexington, Michigan, started working in the family business when he was 13.

The business has 12 bowling lanes, a bar, an arcade, a restaurant, and living quarters upstairs.

“We’ve owned this place for 42 years. For me and my family, it’s more than a place to work. It’s a way of life. And it has become an institution in our community—a real gathering place,” said Kautz.

He said he is still smarting from what happened after Whitmer’s executive actions were ruled unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court in the fall of 2020.

“We got a little reprieve. We thought we were in the clear until she came back with another round of forced closures, this time under the authority of the Michigan Department of Public Health.

The first 30 days knocked us right on our butts. But we were willing to cooperate, to do our part. We were all scared and we did not want to see harm come to anybody.

We lost a lot of money at the time. We are coming back slowly, but our overall revenue is still down 20 percent from pre-pandemic days. That’s hard to make up.

“In the spring of 2020, I tried to do what was recommended and go along. Never again!

“If my Dad was still alive, he’d have never closed at all,” said Kautz.

Brian and Mindy Hill, owners of I.C. Strikes, a 16-lane bowling alley, bar, and snack bar in Imlay City said their business was hit hard by the shutdowns.

Brian was the town barber for 25 years, before purchasing the bowling alley where he learned to bowl as a child.

“We took over in December 2018. We’d saved up money to buy this place and make some upgrades. When COVID hit, we were forced to close down. It took all the money we saved for improvements just to survive,” said Brian.

The Hills said they never thought they’d see the day when their own government could do something like that to them.

Mary Bacon, assistant manager of Jump City, a family recreation center, cleans an arcade machine in Imlay City, Mich., on May 13, 2022. (Steven Kovac/The Epoch Times)

They shut us down. They took away our livelihood with no end date in sight. Then they wanted to loan us money. Think about that. They first put us in a situation where we had zero income to pay our previous debt. And then they wanted to loan us more money.

“Lots of small business people lost their businesses but kept their debt. It ruined them,” said Brian.

The Hills did apply for and receive a Small Business Administration loan at 3.25 percent interest for 30 years, and they participated in the Paycheck Protection Program which helped their business survive.

Up the road from the Hill’s bowling alley is Jump City, a large indoor recreation center offering an array of bouncy houses and arcade games for children.

Assistant manager Mary Bacon told The Epoch Times, “We lost a lot of business. We were forced to close for 15 months and had to make our payments with no income.”

Bacon remembers the morning of March 16, 2020, when many area businesses were gearing up for big St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

“By afternoon everybody had to close. All that food went to waste.

“The shutdown was supposed to be for a couple of weeks. Nobody foresaw it would drag on for a year and three months.

“Oh, they said we could open again, but they so severely restricted the number of customers that we lost all of our big birthday parties. With so few kids allowed in, we couldn’t operate. We were losing too much money.”

Bacon said people are coming back to the center but are still scared, even though the games and bouncy houses are continuously cleaned and sanitized.

Navaeh Smalstig, 8, climbs out of a bouncy house at Jump City in Imlay City, Mich., on May 13, 2022. (Steven Kovac/The Epoch Times)

Before the pandemic, Danny Brown owned a roller rink in Grand Blanc and Owasso, two south-central Michigan towns.

“The lockdowns forced us to sell the Owasso rink for less than half of what we paid for it. We will be trying to make up our loss for years to come.”

Brown, who is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, told The Epoch Times, “To keep going I had to decide to triple our debt. Since the shutdown, I am three-quarters of a million dollars deeper in debt.

“Small businesses put everything on the line. All of our personal and family money. I am personally responsible for our debt. If I die my children will have to pay it.”

Brown said Michigan’s government acted without a real understanding and regarded the state’s small businesses as “nonessential throwaways.”

“One of the reasons we filed suit is to push the government to think differently,” he said.

According to Brown, family entertainment centers like skating rinks, bowling alleys, arcades, pool halls, miniature golf, and go-cart tracks have been nearly wiped out.

“A few years ago, there were 3,500 roller skating rinks in the United States. Now there are 700. There were five rinks in Genesee County, now there are two.” he said.

Brown attributes the decrease to years of ongoing government mandates and interference that led up to the COVID-19 lockdowns.

“They took, they stole our businesses!” he said.

Donn Slimmen, another plaintiff in the case, owns Spartan West Bowling in the west Michigan resort town of Ludington.

“The lockdown just about killed us. It was 14 to 15 months of agony. Our bank payments and utility bills didn’t stop. We went from being two to three months behind to more months behind.

“We entered into survival mode. We ate a lot of pork and beans and hotdogs. We’re still trying to work ourselves out of the hole. By the end of this summer, we might be solvent again.

“We were lucky to survive. We are still hanging on by threads,” said Slimmen.

Along with 16 bowling lanes, Slimmen operates a full-service restaurant.

It’s never come back. Pre-pandemic, we’d serve 200 customers at an ordinary Friday fish fry. Now our best night is 100.

“Our restaurant went from a thriving seated-guest business to a take-out operation grossing only two to three percent of the seated sales.

“We were spending $400 to take in proceeds of $100.

“The politicians and bureaucrats don’t understand. They never cleaned a toilet seat or climbed into a bowling machine to fix it,” said Slimmen.

Slimmen blames Gov.Gretchen Whitmer for the plight of his community and the state.

“You didn’t see Republican governors closing businesses. Their states did so much better.

“Drive through downtown Ludington or Muskegon and look at all the boarded-up storefronts. So many places are out of business. Michigan is in terrible shape,” Slimmen said.

The Tomassoni family has been in the bowling business for 84 years in the western Upper Peninsula town of Iron Mountain, Michigan.

We had to close bowling and our banquet facility a total of 161 days in two different periods of time in 2020. After the second shutdown, we could operate at 25 percent occupancy and only during restricted hours. No wedding receptions, no special events. It was a disaster.

“It ripped my heart out. I am so bitter towards my government,” said owner Pete Tomassoni.

Tomassoni’s business suffered further because of its proximity to Wisconsin which is only minutes away.

“Wisconsin closed for just 30 days. For the most part, they were wide open. That really hurt us.

“Our governor was picking and choosing which of our state’s businesses could operate. To force a business to close with no notice and without proven science is straight out wrong.

“I think that she came down so hard on small business because we, by and large, lean to the right.

“The state dangled the threat of yanking business licenses to keep people in line.

“Some of our businesses tried to defy the state and stayed open

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/18/2022 - 21:25

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