Why are ASX uranium shares getting thumped on Friday?

Investors have been rushing to the exits today. But why?

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High-flying ASX uranium shares are having their wings clipped on Friday.

In morning trade, the industry is a sea of red as investors hit the sell button in a panic.

Here's the state of play at the time of writing:

  • Alligator Energy Ltd(ASX: AGE) shares are down 9% to 7.2 cents
  • Bannerman Energy Ltd(ASX: BMN) shares are down 12% to $3.47
  • Boss Energy Ltd(ASX: BOE) shares are down 12% to $5.28
  • Deep Yellow Limited(ASX: DYL) shares are down over 13% to $1.45
  • Paladin Energy Ltd (ASX: PDN) shares are down 8% to $1.31

Why are ASX uranium shares being hammered?

Investors have been selling off uranium stocks this morning in response to an update from one of the world's largest uranium miners, Cameco Corp (NYSE: CCJ).

The US$19 billion miner released its FY 2023 results and revealed that its net earnings, adjusted net earnings, and cash from operations all more than doubled compared to 2022. This was driven by higher sales volumes and realised prices.

While this is a great result and would ordinarily get uranium investors excited, its production plans appear to have spooked them.

What's going on?

As you may be aware, uranium prices have been surging recently amid concerns over the supply of the chemical element. This was caused by the world's largest uranium miner, Kazatomprom, warning that its production could fall short of expectations over the coming years.

However, overnight Cameco revealed that it sees opportunities to increase production to take advantage of the strong demand. It said:

With the improvements in the market, the new long-term contracts we have put in place, and a pipeline of contracting discussions, our plan is to produce 18 million pounds (100% basis) at each of McArthur River/Key Lake and Cigar Lake in 2024. We also plan to begin the work necessary to extend the estimated mine life at Cigar Lake to 2036.

In addition, at McArthur River/Key Lake, we plan to undertake an evaluation of the work and investment necessary to expand production up to its annual licensed capacity of 25 million pounds (100% basis), which we expect will allow us to take advantage of this opportunity when the time is right.

This appears to have put a dampener on optimism that prices could remain sky high (or go even higher) in the near term, which is disappointing news for ASX uranium shares.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has recommended Cameco. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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