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February 20, 2011

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Car plate prices rise sharply

CAR plate prices in Shanghai yesterday rebounded to more than 40,000 yuan after supply dropped and Shanghai enhanced law enforcement of restrictions on vehicles with out-of-town plates.

The average price for a license plate rose to 44,627 yuan (US$6,782) this month, up 5,856 yuan from January, Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co said.

The lowest price increased by 5,900 yuan to 44,200 yuan. Both prices rose for the second straight month.

Demand for car plates increased as the city announced it would step up enforcement on vehicles with out-of-town plates using local elevated highways during peak hours. Vehicles with such plates are not allowed to be used on local elevated highways on weekdays from 7:30am-9:30am and 4:30pm to 6:30pm. Drivers violating the restriction face a fine. The policy is designed to ease traffic congestion.

Before yesterday's auction, second-hand car plates prices had already surged to 44,000 yuan, about 13 percent higher than January's average price of 38,771 yuan.

The price also increased as the municipal government reduced the plate supply from 8,000 in January to 7,500 this month.

Although the number of bidders dropped 5,571 to 25,104 this month, many car owners offered higher prices after leaving previous auctions empty-handed.

As government incentives for fuel-efficient cars expired earlier this year, many consumers rushed to automobile showrooms at the end of last year, which created additional demand for car plates.

Liu Yuan, who gave up bidding after the price exceeded his estimate of 42,000 yuan, said: "There is solid demand for license plates, but the price is too high. I shall wait another few months," he added.


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