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October 25, 2009

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Record bidders lift plate prices

Auto buyers paid higher prices for a car plate in Shanghai yesterday as more bidders competed for fewer plates.

The average price hit 34,402 yuan (US$5,034), up from 29,500 yuan in September, according to the organizer, Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co.

The lowest price also rose 6,700 yuan, to 33,900 yuan, from a month earlier.

The municipal government put 8,000 plates under the hammer this month, 500 less than September, while the number of bidders increased about 47 percent to 22,006, the highest for the year.

"A lot of buyers showed greater interest because the plates were auctioned at unexpectedly low prices last month," said a dealer from United Used-Car Trading Market in downtown.

"And the adjusted higher taxi fee also gave consumers second thoughts about buying their own car. But the price increase for this month is somehow lower than earlier market expectations," he added.

Before this month's auction, car plates fetched around 35,000 yuan on the secondhand car market, a price widely believed as the highest consumers could afford.

Industry analysts said expectations of higher fuel prices as a result of an anticipated increase in the cost of crude oil in the global market may be behind the increased prices for car plates.

Also vehicle demand may be moderate in the next few months after an explosion in car sales in the first three quarters of the year.

Shanghai is demanding that all new cars meet emission standards equivalent to the second highest in Europe from November 1.


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