Banks Sitting on Huge Stockpiles of Raw Uranium

From Business Daily Live

By David Sheppard

GOLDMAN Sachs and Deutsche Bank are quietly trying to get out of a business few people know they are even in: trading supplies of raw uranium known as yellowcake.

In the past four years banks have amassed low-grade stockpiles of the nuclear fuel ingredient larger than those held by Iran, and enough to run China’s nuclear plants for a year.

Goldman’s uranium business can trace its roots to an apartheid-era South African trading conglomerate that sold Iran its only known foreign yellowcake 35 years ago. To this day that uranium underpins Iran’s disputed enrichment programme, which western powers fear is aimed at developing atomic weapons, though Iran denies it.

Now, under mounting political scrutiny of Wall Street’s role in physical commodities trading, and after a collapse in demand after the Fukushima disaster, both firms have put their uranium trading desks up for sale. But other banks are lining up to take their place.

The history of Wall Street in uranium markets illustrates how far banks moved into physical commodities trading during the natural resources boom of the past 10 years.

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