Copper may fall (Bloomberg)

Copper may fall as lower prices encourage consumers to delay purchases and await further declines, a survey showed.

Eleven of 18 analysts, investors and traders surveyed by Bloomberg, or 61 percent, said the metal will drop next week. Five predicted higher prices and two forecast little change. Copper for delivery in three months was down 2.3 percent for this week at $9,730 a metric ton at 4 p.m. yesterday on the London Metal Exchange.

“I imagine consumers will hold off from buying to see how far the correction runs,” said William Adams, an analyst at in London. The metal rose to a record $10,190 a ton this week, stoking speculation about demand destruction and substitution.

The red bars on the attached chart are derived by subtracting bearish forecasts from bullish estimates, with readings below zero signaling the majority of respondents expect a decline. The green line shows the copper price. The survey data shown are as of Feb. 11.

The weekly copper survey has forecast prices accurately in 58 of the past 124 weeks, or 47 percent of the time.

This week’s survey results: Bearish: 11 Bullish: 5 Hold: 2