Copper futures headed for decline, survey of analysts finds The sovereign debt crisis currently plaguing the European Union is sending jitters through the global market and has driven the price of copper down.

Copper traders and analysts, who not long ago were bullish on the commodity, have quickly shifted their view. The ongoing tumult in Europe has spurred contagion fears throughout the world, with investors wearily eyeing the U.S. and other markets as they fear the crisis will consume economies outside of the EU.

Bloomberg reports 11 of the 23 analysts surveyed by the news agency project the metal to decline over the coming weeks. Their negative assessment of the worldwide copper market could indicate it is poised for even further falls, according to experts.

Since hitting a record in February, copper futures have declined by more than 20 percent. The metal is used in construction and is a key component in many appliances and other products, and its fate is directly tied to the global economy. Economic stagnation has wrapped its tentacles around the European economy, as both Germany and France are not entangled in its nefarious clutches.

"There's a strong chance of Europe going into a recession," research head William Adams told Bloomberg. "Asia is getting more worried that the slowdown in Europe will mean demand for their exports will be hit and therefore that's going to impact demand for their industrial production."

On the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday, copper futures for December 2011 delivery climbed 0.58 percent to close at $3.40 per pound.

Lingering economic woes in Europe are driving demand for copper down, but other countries are also contributing to the drop. China is the world's biggest copper consumer, and the government has enacted a series of increasingly stringent regulations as officials worked to quell a speculative real estate bubble and runaway inflation.

The measures appear to working, economists say, but they have also resulted in a reduction in new construction projects in the world's second biggest economy, further depressing demand.

According to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, speculators in U.S. copper futures have bet the metal would fall since mid-September.

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