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January 8, 2012

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License plate prices rise ahead of Spring Festival

CAR plates in Shanghai rose in the first auction of 2012 as demand outstripped supply with the approach of Chinese New Year.

The averaged price for a private car plate increased to 53,195 yuan (US$8,423) this month, up 1,758 yuan from December, auction organizer Shanghai Commodity International Co said yesterday.

The lowest price jumped 1,800 yuan to 52,800 yuan this month.

The plate supply was reduced to 8,000 this month, 500 less than December. The number of bidders fell 2,177 to 24,354 in January.

"A majority of car owners wanted to get the license plate before the Spring Festival so they could make travel plans," said Lu Shenghao, an auto dealer at Greenland. "With the smaller quota of plates, the competition was intense."

Industry analysts said demand for car plates was normally high at this time of year because of the prime vehicle sales season before the Spring Festival. January's auction was held about 20 days after last month's auction, which attracted some who were hoping for a bargain.

Five minutes before the end of the first bidding period, the prices were around 10,000 yuan. But offers soon broke 30,000 yuan and exceeded 52,800 yuan when the first round of bidding ended.

Shanghai is the only city in China to offer car plates through a monthly auction as part of efforts to control the vehicle population.

Car owners can purchase license plates from other provinces at a cheaper price but these vehicles face traffic restrictions while on streets in Shanghai.


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