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December 18, 2011

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Car plate supply dips, prices surge

CAR plate prices rebounded sharply to more than 51,000 yuan (US$8,035) in Shanghai yesterday as supply dropped in the last auction of the year.

The average price for a license plate rose to 51,437 yuan at this month's auction, up 3,802 yuan from November, auction organizer Shanghai Commodity International Co said.

The lowest price increased 5,300 yuan to 51,000 yuan this month.

After climbing for 10 months, car plate prices unexpectedly fell in November, tempting bargain hunters to try their luck at yesterday's auction. The number of bidders jumped 30 percent from last month to 26,531, the second most this year after 30,675 participated in January.

The city offered 8,500 car licenses this month, 500 less than in November.

"Many bidders considered the price dip last month as the turning point for the price increase," said Zhuang Qiang, a Guangzhou Honda dealer. He said the traditional year-end sales boom also pushed up demand for plates and created more competition.

The price rebound prompted some vehicle traders to hoard car plates on the second-hand market in expectation of further rises.

A car plate on the second-hand market is now at least 53,000 yuan, according to dealers.

The average price for a car plate in Shanghai was 48,524 yuan this year. A total of 103,500 car plates were auctioned this year.

Shanghai is the only city in China to offer car plates through a monthly auction to control the number of vehicles on the streets.

Owners can register vehicles in other provinces for less money, but they face traffic restrictions in Shanghai.

The next car plate auction will be on January 7.

It was moved up due to Chinese New Year, which falls on January 23 in 2012.


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