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November 18, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Plate demand dips, but prices still on rise

HITTING record highs at this month's auction, Shanghai's car plate prices have strengthened their upward trend despite diminishing speculation and the possibility of free licenses for green cars.

The lowest winning bid for a Shanghai car plate rose to 66,400 yuan (US$10,650) yesterday - up 1,200 yuan on last month - while the average price was up 238 yuan on October's figure to 66,946 yuan, Shanghai Commodity International Auction Co said.

It is the sixth consecutive month that the city has kept the supply of car plates at 9,500, the highest number in 2012.

But the number of bidders was down 4 percent from last month to 19,120 - the year's second lowest - after hovering around a low level since August.

Xiao Yan, a car dealer in Shanghai, said the drop in the number of bidders shows how new rules for car plate resale introduced in July that extend the minimum holding period from one year to three years are pushing scalpers out of the game.

But a policy helpful in curbing the speculative bidding is not necessarily effective in bringing down the auction prices, Xiao said.

"After seeing car plate prices rising all these months, many auction participants tend to overbid, which drives up the lowest winning bid."

The average price of a Shanghai car plate has surged more than 25 percent since January and some would-be car owners have become impatient waiting for it to come down.

"It seems nothing can stop 'the most precious metal plate on the Earth' from setting new records of prices," said would-be car owner Vicky Ye, who plans to buy a car in Shanghai.

Asked whether she would consider buying an electric car, which is eligible for a Shanghai car plate for free under a government preferential policy being formulated, Ye said electric cars were too expensive.

"Even after the policy takes effective, there won't be any significant price fluctuation on the car plate market," said Xiao, echoing Ye's view.

"The electric car is just not commercially ready," added the car dealer.


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