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October 23, 2011

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Car plate prices near all-time high

CAR plate prices in Shanghai increased in October with the lowest successful bid close to the all-time high set nearly four years ago.

Although the number of bidders dropped from a month earlier, the average price of a license plate climbed to 54,008 yuan (US$8,438), 1,386 yuan more than in September, according to auction organizer Shanghai Commodity International Co.

The lowest price rose 1,600 yuan to 53,800 yuan.

Car plate prices have increased every month this year. The average price this month was the third highest on record -- only the 56,042 yuan in December 2007 and 54,317 yuan in November that year have been higher.

About 9,000 car plates were available for auction this month, down 500 from September.

The number of bidders in October fell below 20,000 for the first time this year. About 19,415 people participated in the auction, down 2,853 from September.

"Many potential buyers changed their minds after seeing the price hit a 45-month high last month," said Li Jing, a dealer at the city's trading market.

Li also said prices still went up because many bidders who failed to get a plate in previous auctions had one final chance before their bidding qualification expired.

The bidding qualification offers car owners three opportunities to bid within six months.

"Owners of mid-to-high end vehicles, which have sold well this year, are also not so price sensitive," Li added.

Shanghai is the only city nationwide that offers the car plate through an auction system in an attempt to limit vehicles on the roads.

Demand for plates has been strong this year after the city government placed restrictions on out-of-town plates as part of traffic control efforts.


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