Number of Contracts
Unlike other metals such as gold, silver, copper or nickel, uranium is not widely traded on an organized commodity exchange such as the London Metal Exchange. It is traded on the NYMEX but on very low volume. Instead, it is traded in most cases through contracts negotiated directly between a buyer and a seller. The structure of uranium supply contracts varies widely. The prices are either fixed or base on referenced to economic indices such as GDP, inflation or currency exchange. Contracts traditionally are based on the uranium spot price and rules by which the price can escalate. Delivery quantities, schedules, and prices vary from contract to contract and often from delivery to delivery within the term of a contract.
Since the number of companies mining uranium is small, the number of available contracts is also small. Supplies are running short due to flooding of two of the world's largest mines and a dwindling amount of uranium salvaged from nuclear warheads being removed from service. While demand for the metal has been steady for years, the price of uranium is expected to surge as a host of new nuclear plants come online.
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