Red-Hot Resources

"Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortune’s expensive smile is earned.”

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Maine Sunset

I'm traveling so I'm not posting much. Here's a sunset I shot in Maine -- not bad for a cheapo camera phone.

It's beautiful in Maine this time of year. It's cool at night, fireflies are lighting up the back yard and strawberries are in season. Have a great weekend.
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Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Latest Interview on HoweStreet.com: Gold, Pharoahs, and Bears, Oh My!

Phil and I have a great talk as usual. Work isn't supposed to be this much fun, but I'm glad it is: http://tinyurl.com/37uut7

Check out my new gold and energy blog at MoneyAndMarkets.com

News With a Twist

Here's three pices of news out today that means more than they seems on the surface …

  1. Japan's Factory Output Unexpectedly Drops, Damping Rate-Increase Prospects Japan's industrial production unexpectedly dropped for a third month in May, the longest decline in almost two years, raising concern that growth is slowing in the world's second-largest economy.

XX My take – this likely means that the Bank of Japan's growling about potentially raising interest rates is all noise and no teeth. And THAT should be good for gold prices. Japanese investors – huge gold buyers – were cutting back on gold purchases on the hope that the BOJ was going to raise rates. "Why risk money in gold when you might get a good return just sticking your money in the bank," is how that reasoning goes.

But if the BOJ isn't raising rates, the Japanese might buy gold instead. Let's watch and see how this develops.

  1. Kazakhstan Reduces Forecast for Oil Output 13 Percent; Projects Delayed Kazakhstan, the second-largest oil producer among the former Soviet states after Russia, cut its forecast for oil output by 13 percent because of project delays and pipeline bottlenecks.

XX My take -- This is actually important for uranium. Uranium prices have been weakening partly because investors, traders and utilities alike were factoring in huge production increases from Kazak uranium mines. But now we see that Kazak is suffering serious delays in its oil projects. What do you think the odds are that it will suffer serious delays in its uranium projects? Better than average, I'd say. Bottom line: This should be bullish for uranium prices. That said, the expected pullback in uranium prices could be a self-fulfilling prophecy by now. I'm just more convinced than ever that it will be a buying opportunity.

  1. Yamana Announces Agreement With Northern Orion and Proposal to Meridian Gold to Create Pre-Eminent Mid-Tier Gold Producer Yamana Gold and Northern Orion Resources Inc. today announced that they have entered into a business combination agreement and a concurrent proposal has been made to Meridian Gold Inc. with respect to the combination of the three companies.

XX This is interesting news, and not just because Yamana is in the Red-Hot Canadian Small-Caps portfolio. The companies have good reasons for the merger/takeover.

  1. The combined company will have annual gold production of more than 1.4 million ounces by 2009 from a combined base in 2006 of approximately 660,000 ounces
  2. It will have a cash-cost per ounce of a NEGATIVE $100 per ounce in 2007-2010 due to copper credits.
  3. It will start with a net cash balance of $575 million and that should rise to $2.4 billion by 2010.

In other words, with this combination, these companies are on their way to the big league.

But it also shows that gold companies don't consider themselves overvalued. In fact, they think this is prime time to do mergers and acquisitions. Gold is cheap at these prices, my friends, and select gold miners are even more so. I expect another wave of M&A activity in the near future.


 

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

MoneyandMarkets ... The Gold of the Pharoahs

My latest MoneyandMarkets.com column is up -- The Gold of the Pharoahs. It was originally much longer, but eh, what ya gonna do.

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A Case of the Uglies

The headline in Reuters pretty much sums up the carnage going on in the metals markets ...

Gold touches 3-month low as investors cut risk

LONDON, June 27 (Reuters) - Gold on Wednesday hit its lowest in more than three months and silver fell to its weakest in more than five months as commodities were hit by the latest wave of risk aversion in global financial markets.

Gold has traditionally been seen as a haven for investor money but more recently has been put in the same category as other commodities, which are considered risky investments.

"We've seen this countless times. When there is a whiff of risk aversion...gold like any other commodity tends to get affected by long liquidation and that's what we're seeing," said Robin Bhar, metals analyst at UBS Investment Bank.

XX My take -- mining stocks cratered yesterday, so now isn't the time to sell them. A "3-month low" or other benchmark often comes right before a significant rally. We'll do some risk reassessment of our own on open positions.



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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Uranium Chart


A visual represention of my earlier post ...

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Are Uranium Prices Headed Lower?

That seems to be the view over at StockInterview.com – a great site, by the way – where they analyze the latest news from Nuclear Market Review in the following story:

Uranium Demand Showing Price Weakness

TradeTech's Nuclear Market Review reports, "Two sellers that were evaluating bids in response to their auctions have concluded their evaluations and have decided not to sell at this time."

Stock Interview does more digging: In an eye-opening interview with Joe McCourt on May 21st, we learned about his company's proprietary Blended Fuel Value (BFV). McCourt told us, "The BFV calculates the weighted average price of uranium held by all publicly traded funds as a function of the fund share price. The upward and downward price movement of the BFV reflects North American and European investors' sentiments on the current spot price of physical uranium."

Until this past April, the BFV has traded well above the weekly spot uranium price indicators, published by either TradeTech or Ux Consulting. For the week, the BFV has traded a whopping $19/pound BELOW the price indicators.

According to Joe McCourt, who writes in this week's FreshFUEL, "The value of the BFV should be about $6 higher than spot U3O8 to account for the cost of underwriting and distributing the shares of the fund. Currently, the BFV is about triple that amount lower than the spot price." [XX emphasis added]

So, going by this, McCourt's indicator points to a correction of about $18 in the spot price of uranium oxide. Now, that's not more than a hill of beans for a metal that started 2007 with a spot price just above $70 and is now at $136 to $138, depending on your source. But it would be the first correction in the spot price of uranium in years … since this big bull market began.

On the bright side …

Traders have backed off the past few weeks. General discontent through the utility industry suggests spot U3O8 needs to take a breather. In an April 12th interview with Dr. Robert Rich, he warned of a 'price adjustment.' But, he also told us at the time, "The minute buyers see things go down, they are going to flock back into the market, and say, 'Okay, we knew this was going to happen. Now, we buy.' The utility consumers will come back into the market like lemmings, and buy up anything available. The next thing you know, there's another spike."

XX My view – the best metaphor I can give for the uranium bull market is that we're in the third inning of a nine-inning game. We have a long way to go. And I've been telling you that a pullback would be a great buying opportunity. Indeed, uranium stocks have been selling off for weeks, so the smart money may be anticipating a pullback already. Is the pullback already priced in? I can tell you that some great stocks look darned cheap right now.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

My Latest Talk With DowJones Marketwatch

Myra and I talked about oil, but my quotes only made page 2. I have to remember to say the most outrageous things possible when I talk to Marketwatch ...that's how you get page 1 ;-)

http://tinyurl.com/2q5bp5

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The Long, Hot Summer

Approximately 50 percent of the United States is currently experiencing unusually dry or drought condition, according to the US Drought Monitor.

Cyclical droughts are a normal part of nature. In the US Southwest, they come and go in 20- to 30-year cycles, and within each cycle there are good years and bad years. But accumulated convincing evidence that this latest drought is worse than its mid-20th-century predecessor.

Some interesting stats …

  1. America's Southeast is suffering its driest spring on record.
  2. In Florida, the vast waters of Lake Okeechobee — second in size only to Lake Michigan among the freshwater lakes of the contiguous states — have receded so much that parts of the lakebed recently caught fire.
  3. The Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., has warned it may have to reduce or suspend production, because the iron-free spring waters on which it relies are flowing as much as two-thirds below normal.
  4. Arizona is the fastest-growing state in the union. Its population increased by 3.6 percent last year. Nevada is No. 2: Its population grew by 3.5 percent. Both are mostly desert.
  5. The population of California is expected to grow by 30 per cent over the next two decades: That would mean adding three cities the size of Los Angeles to the state.

You can read more by CLICKING HERE.

Meanwhile, the era of cheap food is coming to an end.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Great Talk With Tom Jeffries

He's always a lot of fun to talk to. I guess we laugh too much for a "serious" interview. Too bad, LOL!

http://tinyurl.com/2rjjkj

Happy Friday!
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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Uranium in Euros


TradeTech had an interesting chart in its June 8 Nuclear Market Review. This shows the price of uranium in both US dollars and euros.
You can see that since the US dollar is trending lower against the euro, uranium seems less expensive in Europe. France already gets 75% of its electricity from nuclear power. If cost is a factor, you might expect more European utilities to build nuclear power plants going forward.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Uranium Stock ETF to Launch in US

Very interesting read -- Van Eck Global is going to launch the Global Nuclar Energy ETF, to track the uranium industry, from miners to end users. CLICK HERE for details.

The fund should launch in the Fall of this year. Could that provide some upward pressure on uranium miners? Oh, I should think so.

Until then, we just have the Uranium Focused Energy Fund (UF.UN) in Canada. Not so badly so far -- it trades just a little above its net asset value.

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The Rodney Dangerfield of Metals

My latest column on MoneyandMarkets.com is up ...

The Rodney Dangerfield of Metals (by Sean Brodrick) Palladium has been in platinum's shadow, but Sean Brodrick thinks palladium will soon get the respect it deserves.
Check out my new gold and energy blog at MoneyAndMarkets.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Uranium Updates


1) The price of uranium is holding steady at $138 per pound. Courtesy of Resourcexinvestor.com ...
Four spot uranium buyers are actively seeking about one million pounds of U3O8 equivalent.

2) The OTC listing in the US for Uranium One (formerly SXR Uranium One) has changed. It changed to SXRZF from SXRFF. If you bought the US version of this stock -- and certain of my subscribers did just that -- make a note.

3) And Fronteer Development Corp's stock soared yesterday, but not because of its uranium. Its combined resource estimate for its Turkish gold deposits jumped by 53% over last year's estimate, to 1.5 million ounces of gold measured and indicated and 9.1 million ounces of silver measured and indicated. Nice move, Fronteer!

4) The Uranium participation Corp is now trading at a premium to its net asset value of 7.6% -- it's been higher and it's been lower. On the other hand, it figures its net asset value with uranium priced at $125 per pound. Sales from its stockpiles would probably go at the spot price -- $138 per pound. Figured at that price, the uranium ETF is trading at a 2.2% discount to its net asset value. I find that intriguing, don't you?


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Monday, June 18, 2007

Lake Superior: 'It's like the tide went out and didn't come back'

Very interesting story in USAToday about how the water level in Lake Superior is dropping ominously: CLICK HERE.

But we could have it worse. A reservoir serving Beijing in China is down to 3% of its normal levels. CLICK HERE.

To that, I would recommend a story on the sudden, steep decline in 20 common bird species. The CBS News story is called "Bye Bye, Birdies." Why are the birds disappearing? Loss of habitat combined with global warming seems to be the likely culprit, but no one knows for sure. Maybe they're following the vanishing bees.
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Oil, Gold and the Dollar

Here's an interesting story about oil from Barron's ...

Gas Price May Be Summer Bummer

While refineries were able to crank out an additional 100,000 barrels per day versus gasoline production in the week-ago period (thanks to the use of refinery unit downstream from the distillation tower), refiners remained incapable of expanding utilization: For the week ended June 8, refinery utilization totaled 89.2%, down 0.4% from the previous week and below the year-ago level of 92.7%.

With several refineries still down due to planned and unplanned maintenance, and hence, the industry's inability to maintain a utilization rate above the 90%, we reaffirm our view that record low gasoline inventories leave the domestic-refining system and gasoline consumers vulnerable to upward gasoline-price volatility as we progress through summer.

There are two things weighing on the US dollar now – rising gas prices and a crumbling housing market. You’ll notice I haven’t put the trade deficit in there because the trade deficit hasn’t mattered … yet. If these trends continue, the US dollar should go lower and gold should go higher. If the trade deficit starts to matter, the dollar could get shellacked.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Gold Update

Myra Saefong at Dow Jones Marketwatch (I talk to her a lot, but not for this particular story) gives us the latest on gold. It's a good read. Unfortunately, Tinyurl.com is having a brain cramp, so just CLICK HERE.

Some factoids:
  1. There has been a liquidation recently of more than 180 metric tons of gold sales by central banks -- likely in the past three months
  2. There was a decline of 26% in gold-investment demand, in tonnage terms, though jewelry demand was up 17%, according to a World Gold Council report released last month. The StreetTracks Gold Trust ETF "dumped" 31 metric tons of privately owned gold into the market in May.
  3. Supply is growing, with the $22 billion that has been "plowed into exploration" over the past five years now starting to pay off. More than 50 operations will come into being between 2007 and 2012, with a combined annual output of about 450 metric tons, In a 3,300 metric-ton total market supply, that is 13% incremental supply.
It sounds a bit bearish. But you know what looks bullish? This chart ...And points one and two in those factoids are backward looking. While there is more supply coming into the market, we are seeing some potentially huge demand growth in China, India and the Middle East. $700 gold might be a lot closer than anyone thinks. But we shall see what we shall see.

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The Latest on Bees and Colony Collapse Disorder

I've been writing about bees and Colony Collapse Disorder -- a syndrome that threatens to wipe out honeybees -- since April. I just read a great story that is a must-read for anyone interested in CCD. And how can you turn down a story with passages like this ...

“I don’t know if I should talk about this,” the source says. “I’m connected with a lot of people very close to this CCD investigation, and I know that there are researchers who are very careful about what they say—they’re almost afraid for their lives.”

Whoa! Does this writer know how to build suspense or what? Tell me more! To read this excellent story, "Buzz Kill," CLICK HERE.

And hat tip to http://www.beepocalypse.com/ Not only did Beepocalypse have a link to the "Buzz Kill" story, it's also the clearinghouse for CCD info. As the website's motto says: "Your source for the latest info on the next end of the world" (Gotta love that sense of humor). Beepocalypse also points out that if you'd acted on my recommendation in my MoneyandMarkets column about CCD ("Investment Plan Bee") and bought Monsanto, you'd be up $8 a share. Buzz-buzz!
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Friday, June 15, 2007

My latest Interview on HoweStreet.com

We talk about uranium and oil. They seem to be recurring themes this week.

http://tinyurl.com/3xrusq

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Areva's Offer for UraMin

Here is a link to Areva's offer for Uramin: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2007/15/c5154.html

  1. US$7.75 per share
  2. 100% cash offer
  3. Premium of 21% over UraMin 20-day average share price as of June 8, 2007
Do I think it's a low-ball bid?  Heck, yeah!

Let's see if the Chinese are going to make a bid.

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My Latest Interview on Market Matters Radio

Tom and I talk about uranium and oil.

http://tinyurl.com/3xca3m

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Four Years Till Peak Oil Hits?

A big-oil mouthpiece was on CNBC this morning, pooh-poohing a report from the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, which says that the peak global production of oil will come as soon as 2011.

You can read the story yourself by CLICKING HERE.

From the story: Colin Campbell, the head of the depletion centre, said: "It's quite a simple theory and one that any beer drinker understands. The glass starts full and ends empty and the faster you drink it the quicker it's gone."

Dr Campbell, is a former chief geologist and vice-president at a string of oil majors including BP, Shell, Fina, Exxon and ChevronTexaco. He explains that the peak of regular oil - the cheap and easy to extract stuff - has already come and gone in 2005. Even when you factor in the more difficult to extract heavy oil, deep sea reserves, polar regions and liquid taken from gas, the peak will come as soon as 2011, he says.

Personally, I subscribe to the theory that we'll only see Peak Oil in the rear view mirror -- we won't know we've hit it until after it happens. But I believe Dr. Campbell's concerns are worth listening to.

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TNotes and Commodity Stocks

I've explained in earlier posts how the rise and fall in interest rates seems to be affecting commodity stocks, particularly small-cap commodity stocks. As interest rates go higher the supply of cheap money dries up, and investors fear this will hurt miners, oil explorers, etc.

The good news is we saw Treasury bonds bounce hard yesterday (bonds move inversely to yields). However, I'm not ready to buy yet. That's because we often see a "double bottom" in bonds. Looking at the weekly chart below, you can see bonds rarely bounce without going back and testing that previous low ...
That doesn't mean there aren't bargains out there in gold and silver miners ... we might just get a better buying opportunity.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

So What Continues to Weigh on Uranium Prices?

We've seen oil prices head higher, and gold appears poised to rebound from its long-term uptrend (see my post yesterday about that). Gold and oil stocks are now catching the wave. But uranium stocks, while generally rallying today, are still deep in the dumps.

What's weighing on them? Well, it might be news like the item I found on Bloomberg News (UPDATE: Story reprinted HERE). The article quotes Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), which provides more than a 10th of the world's mined uranium, as saying that it expects to receive a LOWER average price for the metal in the first half of 2007 than in 2006, even as spot prices rise to $135 or $138 per pound, depending on your source.

Australia-based ERA received an average of $15.57 a pound for uranium in the first half of 2006. That's less than the $17 it received on average for all of 2005, according to Bloomberg. Similarly, the average price this half of 2007 will be lower than the $18.36 received for the whole of 2006.

Now, it's true that contract prices, which are set by deals with utilities, lag spot prices, which are set by deals with speculators, by quite a bit. I've been hearing contract prices of between $60 and $95 per pound. $95 is the price quoted by Trade Tech in its June 1 Nuclear Market Review.

Still, this news from ERA is quit a shocker. The Bloomberg story references a news release that ERA put out yesterday. That press release is in PDF format on the ERA website. You can read it for yourself.
CLICK HERE.

See page 9 for the pricing info.

However, Energy Resources says that the timing of sales this year 'will be heavily weighted in the second half.' The company's so-called legacy contracts, which were settled at lower prices, 'are being steadily replaced by higher-performing contracts.'

So if old contracts are being replaced by higher-priced contracts, tell me, why are prices going down again?

It's curiouser and curiouser with ERA. Two things: I'm glad my Red-Hot Asian Tigers subs took big gains on this stock when we did. Look at it now ...

Red-Hot Asian Tigers subs, aren't you glad we bagged gains on this one on in March? Whew!

Secondly, this lower pricing may be just a problem for ERA. I haven't heard complaints of contract price weakness from other miners. It is true that ERA supplies 10% of the world's uranium. But it's also experienced a major setback this year with the flooding of its Ranger Mine. Is its lower pricing partly to keep customers happy?
And another thing: SXR's Neal Froneman recently told reporters that his company is signing contract prices at $60 per pound. He also expects demand for nuclear fuel will continue to outstrip demand for the next eight years.

Meanwhile, Steve Kidd, Director of Research for the World Nuclear Association recently told
Resource Investor that "There will probably be a period from perhaps 2009 to 2015 when the market has sound supply. Thereafter with rising demand but diminishing secondary supplies it will become more challenging for the industry to meet demand."

To me it the future price of uranium sounds like anyone's guess. We do know this: There is a supply/demand squeeze in uranium right now, and it should continue for the short term. This SHOULD drive prices higher.

Which brings me to my next point ...

How High Can Prices Go?

My own personal target, set when uranium was at $120 per pound, was $298 in 12 to 18 months. That's based on the supply-demand squeeze that is expected by many analysts through 2009 (as you can see from Kidd and Froneman, opinions vary). So how much of a price rise can the industry absorb. Previously, I'd heard the cost of uranium oxide accounts for only 5% of the cost of electricity from a nuclear power plant. However, it turns out that's a myth.

According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, from mining the raw ore to converting it into pellets packed in fuel assemblies, uranium represents 18% of a typical nuclear plant's operating costs.

Nuclear power plant operators say it's even higher than that --
Dr. Haksoo Kim, Acting Director of Fuel Supply for Exelon Corp., says the cost of nuclear fuel is between 20% and 25% of the electricity cost. Then again, you'd expect utilities to put out a worst-case scenario.

Why? Because utilities are having a stare-down with uranium suppliers. As I told you in the
June 6 Money and Markets, In its annual uranium marketing report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration determined a total of 276 million pounds of unfilled uranium contracts exist for the period from now through 2016.

In other words, the utilities are banking that prices will go lower. They say they just can't afford higher costs.

Maybe so. After all, US utilities have to figure in fat profit margins to their bottom lines. So maybe we won't see a US nuclear Renaissance if prices continue to soar.

And that's a pity. Because you know who may not be deterred by higher prices? China, Russia, India, Japan, and South Korea -- in other words, the countries where nuclear power plant construction is already shifting into higher gear.

And remember, coal amounts to 78% of the cost of operating a coal-fired plant, and natural gas amounts to 94% of operating a gas-fired one, according to 2005 data. I don't know if you've noticed, but coal and natural gas prices are both heading higher.

I believe the world is on the cusp of not only peak oil, but also peak natural gas. In the context of a fossil fuel peak, $298 uranium becomes quite achievable. It just might take a little longer.

But maybe not too much longer. Take a look at this chart of uranium prices I snagged from the ERA PDF linked higher in this post ...

That looks like a rocket launch to me. Are we going to see prices pull back eventually? I should think so ... maybe now is the time. Maybe speculators will be spooked by the news out of ERA and sell some of that stuff they've been hoarding for years. Rising interest rates could have a hand in that, too. If you borrowed money at an adjustable rate to buy uranium, and interest rates rise, I think you would sell some uranium to cover your debts.
We'll have to see how that plays out. I think it would be the buying opportunity of a lifetime, if it hasn't already been priced in to uranium stocks.

Meanwhile, my subscribers keep bagging uranium gains. Red-Hot Canadian Small Caps subs recently bagged gains on Energy Metals (good timing on that one, too) and now we find out that Areva is in talks to take over UraMin! Give me some more of that luck!

Keep your powder dry and wait for my signal. It could be a wild ride.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Outlook for Gold

India's rising imports promise 'good year' for gold

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's rising gold imports promise a "good year" after volatility and all-time highs damped buying enthusiasm last year, a senior official of a trade body said on Wednesday.

India imported 211 tonnes of gold in January-March, a 50 percent jump over the same period last year, data from WGC showed. In 2006, gold imports were at 715.5 tonnes, down less than a percent over the previous year.

XX Well, that's good news. Now, let's look at a chart of gold ...
The rise in interest rates has hammered gold and gold mining shares, for a couple of reasons. One, investors can get higher returns in bonds, so many say, "why risk stocks?" I think their returns will be eaten up by inflation, but that's one man's opinion.

Another reason is that rising interest rates crimps the supply of cheap money for these growing stocks. Investors are pricing that in. They're also pricing in more risk in the market. Small-cap miners are more risky, so some investors are reducing their holdings in those stocks and rotating money to other stocks.

However, there was news today that could be interpreted as bullish for bonds (which, in turn, would mean lower interest rates). Imported goods prices were a mixed bag. While commodity prices were up, consumer goods prices were flat. If the Fed watches consumer prices as its inflation gauge, as it says it does, this is not as inflationary as many feared.

I should add that we're of mixed opinions on this at Weiss. Mike Larson, our interest rate guru, thinks the import data is still inflationary. Maybe he's right. But bonds bounced on the news, and gold bounced off its lows. As for mining stocks -- they're still in the sick ward. We may need to see more good news before they recover.

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My Latest Money & Markets Column Is Up

Three Triggers for Higher Oil Prices (by Sean Brodrick)
The oil and gas markets could soar for a number of reasons. Sean Brodrick tells you what investments might benefit from rising prices.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Argh! Modern-Day Pirates Terrorize the Somali Coast!




The two small vessels were travelling across the Indian Ocean at high speed, their occupants wielding rocket-propelled grenades, AK47s and machine guns. Within minutes, they had gained on the bulky container ship. As he stood on the bridge of the MV Rozen, Captain Priayantha Perera sounded the alarm. He knew what was coming: pirates.
The Somali pirates who threw a pipe ladder on to his deck and boarded his ship went on to hold him and his 11 crew hostage at gunpoint for 41 days. The captives were released last month after a ransom, believed to be around $100,000 (£50,000), was paid.


Read the rest by CLICKING HERE.

XX This is a horrific story, the kind that really takes the romance off the Pirates of the Carribean. As if that part of the world needs any more troubles.
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News You Can Use for Tuesday

China to Restrict Ethanol, Coal Industries China will restrict its ethanol and coal liquidification industries as part of efforts to address environmental pollution and realise sustainable development, state press said Sunday. The Beijing Youth Daily said: China's grain stores should be focused on feeding its 1.3 billion people and crop lands should reserved for food production, not energy production.

See also:
China blocks food for biofuel and China's Choice: Pigs Vs. Fuel (I love that headline)

Dollar Trades Near Two-Month High Against Euro Before Inflation Report The dollar traded near the highest in two months against the euro before U.S. reports this week that will probably signal economic growth is recovering.

Nickel Declines to Three-Month Low in London on Signs of Slowing Demand Nickel fell to the lowest in more three months in London on signs that demand for the metal used in stainless steel probably slowed while supply increased.

India's Industrial Production Grows More Than Expected, May Spur Inflation India's industrial production growth beat expectations in April, suggesting the central bank may need to raise borrowing costs further to contain inflation stoked by consumer demand.

U.S. Treasuries Slide as Investors Abandon Bets Fed to Cut Interest Rates U.S. Treasuries declined for a second day as investors abandoned wagers that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Monday Chart Action

The short-term uptrend in gold is broken, but the long-term uptrend remains intact. Take a look at this chart and you'll see what I mean ...
And here's some interesting news ...

Gold may touch $1000: JP Morgan Gold may rise to more than $1,000 an ounce as demand from India, China and exchange traded funds increases and production of precious metal falls, according to JP Morgan Chase & Co., the third-largest US bank.

However, as long as the down days are bigger than the up-days, the bears will still be in charge. How much longer will that last? My crystal ball is cloudy. For clues, let's look at the US dollar ...

And now to silver, which is a bit more bullish than gold ...

And now to update my weekly oil chart from last week ...

We know that gasoline has been leading oil higher. Here is a weekly gasoline chart. It looks a bit toppy ...

But news of ANOTHER refinery outage (in California, I believe) could put an upward squeeze on gasoline prices.

If gasoline does continue to pull back, how low could it go. Let's look at the daily chart for clues ...


Some more news of interest ...

China's Trade Surplus Widens 73 Percent, Adding to U.S. Pressure Over Yuan China's trade surplus rose a bigger- than-estimated 73 percent in May from a year earlier, increasing pressure on the government to allow faster currency gains.

Putin Says Western Nations Must Recognize Economy's `New Balance of Power' President Vladimir Putin, hosting a conference with 200 chief executives from around the world, said Western nations must recognize an economic ``new balance of power'' in which Russia has a central place.

Check out my new gold and energy blog at MoneyAndMarkets.com

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Offshoring Creates Phantom US GDP

It's a very interesting read in Business Week. To read it, click here.
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The Great Flood of China

On the other side of the world, China is experiencing serious flooding,and rivers -- which were parched by drought just last week -- are reaching their highest levels in 20 years ...

Half of China on flood alert as rainstorms plague millions

Millions of people are suffering and at least 23 have been reported dead as violent rainstorms plague nearly half of the provinces in China. Relentless rainfall is now in its fourth successive day in central Hunan Province, affecting more than one million people in 11 cities and counties, sources with the provincial government said at a flood control meeting on Saturday. The rain has left three people dead, one missing and 158,000 homeless, the Ministry of Civil Affairs reported on Friday.

My friend Tom wonders: How will this impact the mines in these areas? Good question, Tom.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Notes for Marketwatch

A Dow Jones Marketwatch reporter (Polya Lesova, she writes very well) asked me for my opinion on oil. My response ...

I’m not too worried about oil. See this chart:

Fundamental drivers going forward …

Gasoline demand: While growth in gasoline demand has slowed somewhat, it is still rising (up 1.5% year over year). Every time gasoline prices flatten, demand surges. This should keep upward pressure on gasoline prices, and that should keep upward pressure on light sweet crude, the easiest source oil to use for gasoline.

refiners are underutilizing their refineries. We’re below pre-Katrina rates. There are plenty of reasons, but they won’t matter beans if we have a bad hurricane.

Hurricane season is here -- and it should be a whopper! We already had two named storms by the official start of hurricane season on June 1. Experts at Colorado State University are looking for a whopping 17 named storms in the Atlantic this season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

Plus, scientists say nine of the storms should become hurricanes, a stunning five of those major hurricanes with sustained winds greater than 111 miles an hour!

There’s also a 74% chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline. The long-term average is just 52%!

It’s likely that global warming will make things worse. For example, in the Persian Gulf, a killer cyclone (what we call a hurricane) shredded itself before slamming into the Persian Gulf country of Oman. Lucky for Oman -- but that was the first time in recorded history that a cyclone that strong hit that part of the Persian Gulf. Do you think it’s a coincidence this is happening just as the US National Academy of Sciences reports that global warming is accelerating three times more quickly than feared? I think not!

It sounds like we have the ingredients for a hot and potentially volatile summer in “oil rig alley” in the Gulf of Mexico … and that would bring the potential for much higher prices.

Of course, like everyone, I hope we are spared an active hurricane season. But the fact remains that even the hint of potential hurricane-related supply disruptions can send energy prices soaring.

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Howe Street Wants to Know: What's With Gold and Uranium?

At which point I tell Phil, "How the heck should I know."

Well, there's more to my answer than that: http://tinyurl.com/2jdtwj

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Charts for Friday

Long-term bond yields in the U.S. finally moved above 5% with the 30-year bond now yielding close to 5.30% yesterday. This has broken some major trend lines, and sowed panic among invetors yesterday. Many of them moved out of speculative investments (gold), and you can't really fault that outlook, because if you can get 5.3% on a T-bill, you might be tempted to park your money and go fishing. Better yet, you can go park your money in the New Zealand dollar, which now yields 8%.

But ah ... the things driving that yield -- fears of inflation and a weaker US dollar -- tend to drive gold and silver higher over time. I think this is the wrong time to get out of gold. Indeed, I think it's a good time to get in.

That said, let's look at some weekly charts ...




And now time for a scary chart -- a daily chart of the Uranium Participation Corp., which is a Uranium ETF (sort of) ...
I don't know what this is telling us, but I'll be very interested to see the results of the next uranium auction.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax ... And Uranium

Tom Jeffries of Market Matters Radio called for a long chat today. However, he forgot to send me the link. Argh!

Just kidding, Tom.

Anyway, we talked about a whole range of issues. Here's the link I picked up off the Market Matters Radio website ...

Thursday: Metals and Uranium
Jun 7, 2007: Sean BrodrickListen to Interview Download
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I talked to Brent Clanton on the Biz Radio Network, Too

This is from 7:20 am this morning. I picked the links up off the Biz Radio website. Let's hope they work ...

BC 2 060707 Sean Brodrick Money & Markets
Today, June 07, 2007, 7 hours ago Biz Radio Networks
BC 2 060707 Sean Brodrick Money & Markets
File Download (8:53 min / 8.2 MB)
Comments
podcast-2007-06-07-44121.mp3
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Radio Interview -- Traders' Nation

They told me I only had four and a half minutes, so I talked really fast, LOL!


http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/RHR/audio/060707.mp3
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Gold and silver Update

Don't let yesterday's pullback worry you.

South African gold production falls ANOTHER 8.2% year over year. Meanwhile, overall mineral production increased 0.6% in April compared with the same month a year earlier.

Silver to shine on investor interest, ETFs. LONDON (Reuters) - Investors and exchange-traded funds regardless of fundamental factors may drive the price of silver to new highs this year, having already tripled in four years, analysts say.

Shanghai Gold Exchange to offer gold, silver futures through derivatives trading. Chairman Shen Xiangrong told the Shanghai Daily that China's central bank, the People's Bank of China, has already granted its approval for the gold exchange to trade gold and silver futures.

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Sometimes The Best Thing Is to Be Lucky

Oman Update ...

It looks like the cyclone collapsed just as it careened toward impact with Oman. As a result -- from the reports I read -- there was a lot of rain and plenty of wind, but not the killing hurricane-force winds everyone feared. And Oman gets flash floods, just like desert regions in America do.

Margie over at WeatherUnderground.com gives us the details ...

Gonu was sheared apart today, while traversing the Gulf of Oman. Clouds over the center dissipated, and convection thinned and dispersed northward from increased shear. A recent IR loop shows that the LLCC and the remaining mid-level circulation decoupled, and the mid-level circuation came ashore over Iran in the last couple hours (about 05-06Z), and can still be seen rotating. Now anyone reading this from Oman who has had their car crushed by a falling tree or business submerged by the rising waters probably won't feel lucky. And if you did suffer loss during the storm, you certainly have my sympathies. But from what I hear, it could have been much, much worse.

To be sure, getting from here to there could be a problem ...
And I hear that power is out in sections of the country. But remember the old saying: "Wisdom and power follow endurance and patience." Maybe they weren't talking about electricity, but it's still appropriate I think.

And I hope between now and next time -- and you know there will likely be a next time -- Oman's leaders have the wisdom to build up those sea walls.

More on the cyclone's aftermath from the bloggity good blogging at Sleepless in Muscat.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My Latest Money and Markets Column Is Up

This one is about gold, uranium and nickel.

Three Metals Poised for Blast-Off! (by Sean Brodrick)
Sean Brodrick thinks gold, uranium and nickel will rise because of China, India, and more ...

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Welcome to folks from Dubai and Oman

Welcome to all my visitors from the Emirate of Dubai and the Sultanate of Oman. I’m not sure how you found this little blog – which is nominally about natural resources – but I see from my visitor log that there are a lot of you, and you are certainly most welcome here.

I have to admit that most Americans probably only know Oman as an oil and gas producer (743,000 barrels per day). For Americans trying to find out more about Oman, you can start with the Wikipedia entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oman

Wikipedia is not always the most accurate, so perhaps some of our new friends from Oman, if they have time on their hands while waiting out the storm, could update some of the more relevant bits.

My personal interest in Oman and Gonu is as a fellow Cyclone/Hurricane sufferer. We’ve had some nasty ones here in Florida, and for a while I thought Mother Nature had a grudge against my city of West Palm Beach (ha-ha!). We experienced flooding inside my house – a weird, frightening, helpless experience – but I can assure you it all cleans up eventually.

As long as you get through this storm without losing friends or family, you’ll be okay in the end. And you’ll have stories to regale your grandchildren (I’m Irish, so my stories may improve in the telling over time). Peace be upon you and good luck.

Latest update: Good news! Cyclone Gonu Weakening!


Iran is next in the crosshairs of the storm. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people are being evacuated along the coast line there. Good luck to the Iranians, too.


Scroll down the page for more links.

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Cyclone Gonu Hammers Oman

The forecast coming out of Oman about Cyclone Gonu last night was for the potential for a serious human impact. My heart goes out to anyone caught in the path of the storm. The good news ... so far ... is that the worst people have been dealing with is serious flooding ... including inside their houses, and brother, I know what that's like.

Will the impact be worse as Gonu clears the area and we get on-the-ground reports? I sure hope not. One hopeful sign -- oil futures are down a tad as I write this. One would hope that the world's big energy traders -- many of whom have Persian Gulf connections -- would have better information on this than I.

Or perhaps they're waiting to see the impact on Omani operations/shipping in the Gulf/Iranian oil and gas operations before they move on the price of oil and gas.

This is a roundup of things I found on the web ....

From theOilDrum.com ...

KAC/UCF and Chuck Watson are forecasting, based on their damage models, that the Qalhat (Sur) LNG terminal will be out for 25-30 days and the Mina al Fahal oil terminal will be down for 15-20 days--all of this assuming they are built to US standards. (NB: These damage estimates have increased with each successive model run...and assume US construction standards.)

WEATHER UNDERGROUND


From TheWeatherUnderground.com (a good source for US hurricane data, by the way) ...

This is sad -- the very area that I documented last night, at the extreme southeastern tip of Oman, is going to be the hardest hit area from Gonu. The cyclone has moved slowly northwest during the day, approaching Oman, and the latest track has it making landfall right at the southeast corner that juts into the Arabian Sea, and then sliding along the coastline, up towards the capital, Musqat, and dissipating against the mountainous terrain.(click to Enlarge)

A FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT


Here is a blog from Muscat, Oman: Sleepless in Muscat.

The most recent post on the blog (as I write this) ...

The rain has not stopped since last night 1am Oman Main Time accompanied by strong winds. It seems as though that the sea has come out to join in on the calamity party by going inland up to 300 meters in Athaiba, Seeb and Shatti Al Qurum.

So far, there is no damage report about the situation but it has been rumored that some 16 Indian nationals have been saved from drowning somewhere on the coast. Airport flights have been cancelled mostly but hopefully all will be restored when the storm brews over.

We've had some power disconnections during the night which is the reason why I haven't slept at all in addittion to the sound of the downpour outside on the street.

There have been reports also that now the storm is moving along directly to Iran. But will pass by the coast of Muscat around 12 noon (around 2 and a half hours from now). With all this rain there is a certainty that there has been floods around the Muscat area but unknown even now.

The Royal Oman Police has warned the residents of Muscat to go further inland and preferrably to higher grounds before the eye of the storm passes by Muscat to lessen the casualties to a minimum. They have also asked everyone in Muscat not to venture the street amidst the stormy weather during this period unnecessarily for fear over their lives.

EXPAT FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS

Finally, my friend Kevin Kerr sent me some emails from foreigners living in Muscat ...

It's absolutely tipping down here. The windows in our house are leaking like mad. We're running round with mops but it just won't stop. Outside our garden is flooding!! 2 of our trees have fallen down almost hitting our neighbour's car. Tomorrow when the wadis fill up its going to be chaos. School has been cancelled today but by the end of the weekend I think we'll be really bored. From Amy, 12 years old.
Amy McGuigan, Muscat

I have lived in Oman for nearly 10 years and I have never experienced something like this. The schools are closed, we have been told the water and power is going to be cut. We have also been told to fill buckets and bathtubs with water and to stock up on food supplies for at least 5 days! The houses in Oman are not strong enough to withstand the winds and the rain is pouring down inside our homes. Even though we know we are going to be safe, there will be a lot of damage done and it is not safe outside the house.
Andre Waerness-Vold, Muscat, Oman

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Remember Those Big Fat Profits We Took on Energy Metals ...

... in Red-Hot Canadian Small-Caps? We wondered who was buying the stock. Turns out it was sxr Uranium One, or Uranium One as it prefers to be called now.

Read the details in this story aptly titled: "Uranium Just Got Hotter."

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Persian Gulf Unprepared for Hurricane

I had the name wrong yesterday -- it's actually Cyclone "Goru". It's going to slam Oman and then stomp over to Iran. The latest from Jeff Masters over at Accuweather: ...

This is an unprecedented event. NO CYCLONE has ever entered the Gulf of Oman. And there are no custom 'storm surge' models available for that area. This forecast is based on my experience and subjective analysis of the seabed slope and storm surge interaction with the sea floor. Considering the region has never experienced a hurricane, let alone a strong one it is highly unlikely the loading facilities or platforms were constructed to withstand the forces - both wave action and wind force - that they will experience. Significant damage will occur. How much long term damage, and the volumes associated with it - can not be determined at this time.

TheOilDrum.com has good coverage on this today.

Update: Go over to Jeff Masters' Wunderblog to see some photos showing just how vulnerable the people in the Persian Gulf are to this hurricane. They build their homes on the water's edge or even in dry riverbeds! Please send out your good thoughts and prayers to these people. They've never experienced anything like what is about to hit them.

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Riding the Gold Breakout

I've added gold stocks to all my portfolios recently. Let me sum up some of the reasons why in chart form ...
And this brings us to the gold stocks. I'll show you one -- the one we added to Red-Hot Canadian Small-Caps on Monday.

I'm fairly sure no one but my subscribers comes to this blog anyway. If you aren't a subscriber, remember, it's just as important to know when to get out as to know when to get in. And only my subscribers will hear my recommendation on when to get out.

I've recommended Aurizon previously in Red-Hot Canadian Small-Caps, and we took some nice gains. All things considered, this is another good entry point.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Potential Reasons Why Oil Prices Are Heading Higher Today

A Dow Jones Marketwatch reporter asked me today why I think oil prices are heading higher. My reasons:

#1) We had a report from the Energy Department measuring total implied fuel demand in the U.S. at an average 20.9 million barrels in the four weeks ended May 25. That’s up 2.4% from the same period a year earlier, and with refinery capacity so tight, there is no room for error. Higher fuel demand is pulling everything higher.

#2) More trouble in Nigeria – this time a proposed general strike in the oil and gas industry. I don’t know why this surprises anybody anymore, or more to the point, I’m surprised that oil prices go down when Nigeria doesn’t have trouble, because there is always trouble around the corner in that blighted country.

#3) By June 1, we experienced our second name storm of the 2007 hurricane season. Sure, sea surface temperatures are cooler than at the same time during the hellish 2005 season – the experts tell us that should mean fewer (or at least less strong) storms. But two named storms by June 1? Holy smokes, that is a strong argument for a very busy season indeed, maybe for reasons that aren’t factored in the models yet. I think traders are starting to price in the potential for a real blow-down season.

By the way, as an aside, did you know that Tropical Cyclone Gono (“Why not?” “I Gono”) has strengthened into a Category 4 storm in the Arabian Sea south of Pakistan and is forecast to head for Oman? That’s an important locale for tanker shipping routes.

It could be a combination of all or some or none of these reasons. Happy trading.

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Monday Chart Action

Here are some charts of interest for today ...

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News You Can Use For Monday

GLOBAL

Financial Leverage May Boost Global Growth Beyond IMF Forecast Sixth Year When it comes to world economic growth, the glass is suddenly looking a lot more than half full. The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development just raised its 2007 growth forecast for its 30 member nations to 2.7 percent from 2.5 percent.

Global warming 'is three times faster than worst predictions' Global warming is accelerating three times more quickly than feared, a series of startling, authoritative studies has revealed. They have found that emissions of carbon dioxide have been rising at thrice the rate in the 1990s. The Arctic ice cap is melting three times as fast - and the seas are rising twice as rapidly - as had been predicted.

US

Fed Faces Growing Pressure to Raise Interest Rates, Options Market Shows In the options market where the savviest investors take apart conventional wisdom, the Federal Reserve is facing growing pressure to consider raising interest rates as soon as December.

CHINA

China's CSI 300 Plunges 7.7 Percent, Extending Stocks Rout to $350 Billion China's benchmark stock index plunged 7.7 percent after the government's main business newspaper signaled officials won't try to halt a slump that's erased more than $350 billion of market value in four days.

China Plans to Cut Greenhouse Gas Output as Nation Nears U.S. in Emissions China plans to use hydropower, nuclear energy, biomass fuels and gas to help cut 950 million metric tons of so-called greenhouse gas output by 2010 as the country closes in on the U.S. as the biggest producer of harmful emissions.

AUSTRALIA

Australia Dollar Trades Near a 17-Year High as Prices of Gold, Copper Rise The Australian dollar rose, approaching a 17-year high, as prices for metals exported by the nation including gold and copper climbed. New Zealand's dollar strengthened to the highest in more than a month.

Australia Company Profits Rise at Fastest Pace in Two Years, Led by Banks, Retailers Australian company profits rose at the fastest pace in almost two years in the first quarter as an accelerating economy fueled earnings at banks and retailers.

METAL

Copper Rises in London as Stockpiles Fall Most in Seven Months; Zinc Drops Copper rose in London as stockpiles of the metal fell the most in more than seven months, indicating demand may slow less than expected during the northern hemisphere summer. Zinc and lead also dropped.

Gold May Climb as World's Central Banks Slow Sales This Year, Survey Shows Gold may gain for a second straight week on speculation central banks will slow sales of the metal.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Stop the Presses -- Uranium Spot Price Probably Hit $138 per Pound!!!

Holy Isotopes, Batman!

I told you that TradeTech's Nuclear Market Review set the latest spot price of uranium at $133 per pound. Basically, that's the price of uranium sold through the "magic door" at Mestena Uranium in Texas -- one of the three Uranium companies I visited on my recent trip to the U2007 Symposium.

That $133 per pound number was reported by Nuclear Market Review. This price is set by sealed bids for Mestena's uranium. But then, Nuclear Market Review reports, losing bids at Mestena were given another chance at a second auction on Friday to win the material they failed to buy on Wednesday.

The winning bids hadn't been announced by the time that Nuclear Market Review put out its Friday update. So it published what it considered a "conservative" estimate -- $138 per pound. That represents an increase of more than 10% from the previous weekly spot price of $125.

The final price could actually be higher. Perhaps $140? Higher? We'll just have to wait and see.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Get Your Weekend On!

Remember, "One night can change it all!"



Have a great weekend!
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My latest interview on HoweStreet.com


From Uranium to a Platinum skull studded with gemstones to skeletons and boats from the 1600s discovered at the bottom of drought-stricken Lake Okeechobee, we've got it covered. ...

http://tinyurl.com/2aeqb3

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New Uranium Spot Price -- $133 Per Pound

Trade Tech's Nuclear Market Review just came out with a new uranium spot price -- $133 per pound. No wonder many uranium stocks are bouncing like they have flubber on their feet.

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My Latest Interview on Market Matters Radio

Tom and I talk about uranium of course, but also other things, including gold.

http://tinyurl.com/2zvy2c

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