SANTIAGO, May 02, 2012 (Dow Jones) -- Copper likely will average $3.84 a pound this year, according to a poll of 21 local mining analysts published Wednesday by Chilean state copper studies commission Cochilco.
As the metal represents 60% of the country's exports and 15% of its gross domestic product, copper prices are a key indicator of the health of the domestic economy.
The outlook for the year is higher than the one seen in Cochilco's previous survey released in November, when mining analysts saw prices averaging $3.62 in 2012.
The higher 2012 outlook shows that analysts have incorporated expectations of a mild recession in the euro zone, lower possibilities of a global financial crisis and a soft landing for the Chinese economy, Cochilco's head of research Maria Cristina Betancour said in a statement.
For 2013, copper will likely average $3.77 a pound, according to poll.
Cochilco's poll also found that analysts remain somewhat optimistic for copper prices in the longer term as they see the industrial metal averaging $3.05 a pound 2017.
Chile produces a third of the world's copper and the government receives sizable revenues from state copper sales and private mining companies' income and royalty taxes.