Podcast #20: Chat with Bram Vanderelst – Uranium Trader

In today’s episode, Marcelo López spoke with Bram Vanderelst, head of the uranium trading desk at Curzon Resources. Bram, who attended the World Nuclear Association (WNA) Symposium in early September, agreed to come to the L2 Capital podcast and share with us his market insights and his experience in this profession, which is so little known.

Bram Vanderelst, who is a chemical engineer, tells us about his experience and professional career and explains that at Curzon they have a dedicated desk for buying and selling uranium daily in the spot and long term markets.

He, who has accumulated more than 6 years in the profession, talks about the role that a uranium trading desk has for the nuclear fuel market and how it provides liquidity for the industry, even though there are large participants from both sides, i.e., utilities and miners.

Bram talks about the daily life of a trader’s profession in a niche commodity such as uranium, the kind of information that has to be researched, contacts that need to be made, and the analysis that needs to be done.

Bram Vanderelst discusses his view of the market with an analysis that begins with the events of Fukushima, the reverberations that the incident caused on the market, on uranium stocks and how the situation has evolved since then. He also comments on the commodity supply deficit and the outlook for supply / demand balance, with comments on the sources actually available.

Bram Vanderelst also discusses the issue of inventories’ tracking, the availability of data and figures related to them compared to other commodities such as oil, for example.

Vanderelst analyzes the effects that Cameco’s announced purchase in the spot market of 10m lbs of U3O8 by year-end should have on prices, with considerations of material availability at different price levels and locations.

On the possibility of price variation between locations, Bram explains the arbitrage practices and the reasons that lead to divergences within the context of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Vanderelst makes an assessment of the factors that led to a sharp rise in the conversion prices of U3O8 to UF6 and the possibility that something similar could occur with yellow cake, going through current price levels, mining incentives and the specificities of the uranium market.

Finally, Bram draws attention to what he considers to be the risks that investors, utilities and miners could be ignoring or not paying due attention to.

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