Car Registration Plate Prices Rise

CAR plate prices in Shanghai rose for the eighth consecutive month in August to 52,228 yuan (US$8,173).

The average price for a license plate rose 1,054 yuan from July, Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co said yesterday.

The lowest price rose 100 yuan to 51,000 yuan. Both prices set records since the current auction system was adopted in January 2008.

The all-time high was set in December 2007 at about 56,000 yuan.

Despite a drop in the number of bidders, dealers said demand was strong and license plate prices will likely remain high.

The government auctioned 9,000 car plates this month, the same as in July. The plate supply has been increased from 8,000 in March and 7,500 in February in an effort to meet demand.

About 21,544 people participated in the auction this month, 308 fewer than in July. Before the auction, many industry insiders had estimated the price would drop as continuous price rises in the past few months surpassed expectations.

But with September traditionally a strong month for car sales, dealer He Jian said it’s unlikely plate prices will drop in the short term.

A dealer surnamed Zhao said some are stocking second-hand car plates and waiting for the right time to make a bigger profit.

“I already have three plates and it’s just a matter of time before the price goes up further,” said Zhao.