Uranium, The New Contrarian Play?

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November 20, 2012 11:13 AM EST

By Andrew Nelson

One of the things that uranium market watchers assumed would halt the metal's slide was news a few months back that China had shrugged off its post Fukushima ashes and decided to go ahead at full steam in expanding the nation's nuclear energy program. The country is targeting 80 gigawatts of new, uranium-fuelled power by 2020. That's a lot of yellowcake. Uranium's response: weakness and further decline.

Aside from China, there are numerous countries ranging from oil rich UAE, Saudi Arabia all the way to Poland that have recently renewed their national commitment to nuclear power. Adding China's plans to the global picture sees 436 reactors running worldwide, with a further 60 nuclear reactors under construction and approximately 150 new reactors in the planning stages. Uranium's response: weakness and further decline.

There is a bit of new good news for sellers as well, with Kazakhstan, the world's biggest producer of uranium, saying last week it may delay planned mine expansions. The other two largest producers in the world, Canada's Cameco Corp and France's Areva SA, also reduced their annual production forecasts last month in a push to scale back growth plans.

So what we have

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