May 9 (Reuters) - Copper prices in London rose on Thursday, backed by China's improved trade data and property support measures, but gains were capped due to a stronger dollar.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.2% at $9,924 per metric ton by 0429 GMT, aluminium edged up 0.1% at $2,552, tin advanced 0.8% to $32,265, while nickel was mostly flat at $18,880.

LME zinc eased 0.3% to $2,897.50 a ton and lead edged down 0.2% to $2,225.50.

The most-traded June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) eased 0.2% to 80,000 yuan ($11,074.35) a ton at the midday break, nickel fell 0.6% to 141,940 yuan and zinc edged down 0.2% at 23,265 yuan.

SHFE tin fell 0.2% to 260,340 yuan a ton, while aluminium rose 0.9% to 20,665 yuan, and lead advanced 1.3% to 18,120 yuan.

China's exports and imports returned to growth in April after contracting in the previous month, signalling an encouraging improvement in demand at home and overseas in a boost to a shaky economic recovery.

"That's one of the reasons ... we also have seen more Chinese cities removing home purchase restrictions," said a trader.

China's eastern metropolis of Hangzhou, among the country's most thriving cities, said it will lift all home purchase restrictions to shore up its real estate market, raising the prospect of other cities following suit.

The real estate market accounts for a large volume of metals consumption.

"Metal prices are being influenced by ex-China macroeconomics. Yesterday, the dollar also strengthened," the trader added.

A firmer dollar makes greenback-priced metals more expensive to holders of other currencies.

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($1 = 7.2239 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Sonia Cheema)