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December 16, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Bids fall, but city plate prices keep on rising

SHANGHAI'S car plate prices hit a record high for the sixth consecutive month yesterday, even though the number of bidders fell.

The lowest price for a Shanghai car plate surged to 68,900 yuan (US$11,030) at the last auction of 2012 - up 2,400 yuan on last month's figure - while the average winning bid rose 2,500 yuan on November to 69,346 yuan, the Shanghai Commodity International Auction Co said.

After keeping the number of plates on offer at a year-high of 9,500 for the previous six months, the city lowered the quota to 9,300 for December.

The number of bidders dropped nearly 900 to 18,244, the lowest this year.

Eddie Zhang, a car dealer in Shanghai, said the drop in bidders shows scalpers are leaving the game following the introduction of new rules governing car plate resales in July.

These extended the minimum holding period from one to three years, thwarting speculators seeking a quick sell on.

But this has had little impact on car plate price trends, which remain bullish.

The average price has surged nearly 20 percent since June, and is up more than 30 percent on January's figure.

"Shanghai's car plate prices have strengthened their upward trend in the past few months, even though many bidders expected to see the new rules bring them down," Zhang said.

"Now people tend to overbid, betting that the prices will go higher, which leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Vicky Ye, a would-be car owner who has been monitoring the Shanghai plate price trend this year, said she is tired of waiting for it to shift into reverse.

"I've no doubt the Shanghai plate is the most expensive non-precious metal plate on Earth, and will continue to hold this reputation," said Ye, who had planned to buy a car in Shanghai.

Ye said she will consider applying for an out-of-town car plate. While this won't give her the same privileges as a local plate - there are restrictions on when cars with out-of-town plates can travel on certain roads - it will save her a lot of money, reasons Ye.

Meanwhile, Beijing is to continue with its car plate lottery program next year, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport said this week.

The program has helped cool down car purchases with new car registrations dropping 78.1 percent to 173,000 units last year, said the commission.

Car plate number restrictions are designed to ease congestion in major Chinese cities.


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