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November 22, 2009

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Car plate prices closer to record

SHANGHAI'S car plate prices rose for a second month in November and set the second-highest record for this year.

Dealers said rising fuel prices didn't instantly affect robust auto sales and the booming market may continue its upbeat sentiment as government stimulus measures are expected to be extended to next year.

The average price for a car license rose to 35,317 yuan (US$5,178) at the monthly auction yesterday, an increase of 915 yuan from last month, according to the organizer, Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co.

It's the second-highest price this year after the record 36,231 yuan set in August.

The lowest price for this month also rose 1,000 yuan to 34,900 yuan from a month earlier.

The city government put 8,000 car license plates up for auction this month, the same quota as last month, and 21,902 new car owners recorded bids.

"We are not surprised at the higher price this month because car plates are still in demand amid the booming auto market," said a Dongfeng Nissan dealer, surnamed Chen.

The price for widely used 93-octane gasoline in Shanghai has jumped 12 percent to 6.61 yuan a liter from 5.90 yuan since November 9.

It flowed on from a nationwide fuel price rise as well as the local adoption of National IV emission standards to improve fuel quality.

"The gas price increase is having a less-than-expected influence on car sales compared with government incentives to boost auto consumption," Chen added.

Last month, a total of 13,854 vehicles were registered in Shanghai, a surge of 42 percent from a year earlier thanks to lower tax on small cars and government subsidies.

Industry officials believe China is considering extending the incentives to next year to help achieve stable sales growth in the auto market.


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