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February 28, 2010

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Car plate price increases again

PRICES for car license plates in Shanghai continued to increase in February, sustaining the highest levels in two years.

But dealers said the rising trend may not last long as the year's strong market demand was expected to cool.

This month's price rise has been attributed to a reduced quota of plates.

The average price for a private car license plate rose to 38,620 yuan (US$5,662) this month, 309 yuan up from the 38,311 yuan price in January, plate auction organizer Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co said yesterday.

The lowest price also rose 500 yuan to 38,300 yuan.

The municipal government offered 7,500 car plates for auction, 500 less than January and the lowest quota since June last year.

The auction attracted 18,810 bidders, slightly down from last month's 18,975, according to the company.

Car plate prices unexpectedly hit a 24-month-high in January as demand surged before the Chinese New Year holiday when family outings in a car are popular.

"The price increase in February is less than our expectations amid the sharp cut in quota," said Chevrolet dealer Tang Jianyi.

"The falling number of bidders and moderate vehicle sales in our store in February may indicate that high demand for car plates could start to ease in the following months," she said.

Before the auction, car plate prices on the used-car market were around 39,200 yuan.

Auto sales should rise 10-15 percent this year after 2009's 40 percent surge, according to government estimates.


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