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April 18, 2010

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Car plate prices hit new highs in demand surge

PRICE of car plates in Shanghai continued to climb to new 24-month highs this month despite an increased quota, according to the auction organizer, Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co, yesterday.

Although the number of bidders dropped at yesterday's sales, the average price for a car license climbed to 41,637 yuan (US$6,105), up 1,755 yuan from a month earlier.

The lowest price also jumped 1,400 yuan to 41,000 yuan. Both prices have been rising for seven months and prices are now the highest since the new auction system was adopted in 2008.

The government offered 8,500 car plates for auction in April, 500 more than last month, in an attempt to soak up demand. The auction attracted 17,313 potential car owners, 391 less than March.

"Although the number of bidders dropped, prices remained at a relatively high level reflecting the strong market demand amid a boom in vehicle sales," said a second-hand car market dealer, surnamed Huang.

"With the approach of World Expo, many car-rental companies are also seeking plates to cope with the tourism peak," he added.

Huang said the rapidly increasing prices may prompt government to adopt measures to prevent a further price hike, such as increasing the number of plates available for sale.


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