Copper slumped to a 14-month low Monday, adding to sharp falls from the last three weeks, as fears of a Greek debt default and the threat of a global recession sparked heightened concerns about demand for industrial metals.
Three-month copper on the London Stock Exchange (LME) fell more than 7 per cent to $6,800 a tonne, its lowest level since late-July 2010 and its sharpest fall since October 2008 before trimming losses to trade at $7,125.75 by 0950 GMT.
Other base metals also tracked falls in copper, with benchmark aluminium, zinc and lead all tumbling to their lowest levels in more than a year.
"The leading indicators are worsening so the outlook for demand is worsening. We've seen lack of demand in Europe and the United States and we are likely to see lower demand growth in China.
This is reflected in the prices but the question is to what extent," said Eugen Weinberg, analyst at Commerzbank.
Falls in recent weeks have pushed copper down 23.1 per cent so far this month, on track for its second consecutive monthly fall. The metal is trading 25 per cent lower in the year to date.
Analysts expect to see some bargain-hunting following the metal's recent falls, but Chinese buyers are likely to be cautious given recent market volatility, with investors also expected to sit on the sidelines ahead of a week-long national holiday in China next week.
"There will be some buying over the next weeks but right now considering the national holidays at the beginning of October, I think any buying will be very cautious," Weinberg said.
European equities erased earlier falls to trade higher, while the dollar slipped against a basket of currencies, reflecting some easing in risk aversion.
A weak dollar is supportive for metals as it makes commodities priced in the US unit cheaper for holders of other currencies.
Following criticism from the United States, China and other countries, Euro-pean policymakers began working on new ways to stop the fallout from Greece's near-bankruptcy from inflicting more damage on the world economy as they try to convince markets that a credible plan for the crisis is in the works.