Sept 10 (Reuters) - Shanghai copper edged higher on Thursday on upbeat outlook for demand in top metals consumer China, but heightened Sino-U.S. tensions and caution ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting kept trading subdued.
The most-traded October copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange extended overnight gains to finish the morning up 0.3% at 52,040 yuan ($7,610.30) a tonne.
However, benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped 0.3% to $6,716 a tonne by 0349 GMT, ahead of the ECB policy decision and outlook later in the day.
Notwithstanding headwinds arising from the intensifying rift between Washington and Beijing, economic stimulus measures across the world continue to support prices of copper, seen as a gauge of global economic health.
The metal has gained more than 40% since March and is the best performing base metal this year so far.
“Copper looks well supported by both demand and supply,” said commodity strategists at ANZ in a note. “Ample stimulus is paving the way for strong consumption, while mining disruptions are keeping supply tight.”
* The United States has revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese nationals under a May 29 presidential proclamation to suspend entry from China of students and researchers deemed security risks.
* Copper stocks on the LME dropped to the lowest since November 2005, while inventories in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai exchange rose to their highest since May. MCUSTX-TOTAL CU-STX-SGH
* In Shanghai, aluminium gained 0.1% to 14,400 yuan a tonne, while nickel dropped 0.3% to 116,310 yuan. Zinc slipped 0.2% to 19,335 yuan, lead slumped 1.5% to 15,090 yuan a tonne, and tin lost 1% 143,350 yuan.
* On the LME, aluminium was virtually flat at $1,784.5 a tonne, lead gained 0.1% to $1,895.5, zinc dropped 0.4% to $2,414, while nickel fell 0.4% to $14,855 and tin fell 0.9% to $17,860.
Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila, Editing by SherryJacob-Phillips and Rashmi Aich