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November 20, 2011

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Plate prices drop 1st time this year

CAR plate prices in Shanghai dropped for the first time this year.

The average price of a private plate declined to 47,635 yuan (US$7,561) this month, down 6,373 yuan from October, auction organizer Shanghai Commodity International Co said yesterday.

The lowest price dipped 8,100 yuan to 45,700 yuan in November.

"The plate price is too high for many car owners despite solid demand, which lead to the unexpected decline," said a second-hand car dealer surnamed Huang.

"Many are no longer willing to pay such big bucks for a car plate, particularly in light of economic uncertainty and the flat stock market," he said.

The city government put 9,000 plates up for auction, the same as last month. The number of bidders increased to 20,050, compared to 19,415 in October.

Other dealers said slower vehicle sales may also have contributed to declining plate prices.

The nation's vehicle sales fell more than 1 percent in October, its first drop in five months after the central government changed standards for which fuel-efficient vehicles qualify for a subsidy. Passenger car sales rose 1.4 percent in October to 1.22 million units, down from a 9.1 percent gain in September.

"The price should have dropped before," one car owner, who won a plate yesterday with a bid of 47,300 yuan, wrote on his microblog. "But it turned out OK for me."

However, Huang from the second-hand vehicle trading market, said he expects a slight price rebound next month.

"Usually there will be a spike in vehicle sales at the year end, which may result in more furious competition for car plates," he said.

Shanghai is the only city nationwide that offers car plates through an auction. Demand for a plate was particularly strong this year after the city government placed restrictions on out-of-town plates to ease traffic congestion.


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