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September 15, 2013

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Car plate prices drop for 6th straight month

Shanghai car plate prices dropped for the sixth straight month yesterday at the last auction before a more flexible pricing mechanism is introduced.

The average price of a Shanghai license plate fell to 73,492 yuan (US$12,009), down 1,447 yuan from last month. The lowest winning bid dropped 1,300 yuan to 73,400 yuan. Both prices were the lowest recorded this year, Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co said.

Prices have dropped from the record high of more than 90,000 yuan in March. The decline was attributed to the lowering of the upward limit in the first round of bidding, which was introduced by the municipal government in April to cool the market. 

This month’s price ceiling was set at 72,600 yuan (US$12,049), down 1,500 yuan from last month, and was based on average prices from March through August. The fall compared to declines of 1,900 yuan in July, 2,600 yuan in June and 3,700 yuan in May.

New bidding rules will be introduced at next month’s auction. First-round bidding restrictions will be triggered only by substantial price increases. A rise of 3 to 6 percent will result in a price ceiling in the first round of bidding the following month.

Jumps of more than 6 percent will create a price ceiling for the next two months. The ceiling will be based on the average price from the past three months.

“Many would-be car buyers felt compelled to take action this month because at the next auction they will face a lot of uncertainties,” said Eddie Zhang, a car dealer in Shanghai. “No one knows what will happen under the new bidding rules.” Yesterday 35,154 individuals — the biggest number in five years — bid for 9,000 car plates.

The secondhand market for license plates has also been dented due to a law introduced in March.

It prohibits secondhand plates from being sold for more than the latest average price for a new one. Another measure tightened the minimum holding period before a new car plate can be resold.


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