NEW YORK - U.S. copper futures headed higher at the open on Tuesday, after upbeat reports of rising retail sales and producer prices reinforced optimistic views about the economic recovery.
* Copper for December delivery HGZ9 firmed 1.20 cents at $2.8165 a lb by 10:05 a.m. EDT (1405 GMT) on the New York Mercantile Exchange's COMEX division.
* Range from $2.7950 to $2.8395.
* COMEX estimated copper volume at 6,280 lots by 9 a.m.
* Copper buoyed by economic recovery hopes after data showed sales at U.S. retailers climb at their fastest pace in 3-1/2 years in August.
* Additionally, U.S. producer prices rose more than twice as much as expected in August.
* Not only are consumers' spirits soaring, but their purchases and trips to the mall are as well. The V-shaped recovery just got a badly needed shot in the arm today as the consumer is back in the game in a big way, said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist with Bank of Tokyo/Mitsubishi UFJ in New York.
* Copper's early gains tempered by firmer dollar after the positive U.S. economic data.
* London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouse stocks jumped 2,750 tonnes at 322,550 tonnes on Tuesday.
* London stockpiles have risen nearly 25 percent since early July, reflecting weak demand.
* COMEX copper warehouse stocks fell by 132 short tons to 53,174 short tons as of Monday.
* The value of Chilean copper exports was $2.177 billion in August, down 18.4 percent from $2.669 billion in the same month a year ago.
* Chile is the world's top copper producer, mining about a third of global supply.
* Australia's Macquarie Bank raised its 2009 forecast for copper by 31 percent, to $2.38/lb ($5,247 a tonne), and by 28 percent in 2010, to $3.20 ($7,055 a tonne). The higher forecast was in response to the aggressive Chinese buying in 2009 and the prospect of a demand recovery elsewhere in 2010.
* LME copper for three-months delivery MCU3 last traded up $40 at $6,180 a tonne. (Reporting by Chris Kelly; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)