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Car plate price driven to 3-year high by demand

STRONG demand kept car plate prices in Shanghai at a three-year record high at this month's auction yesterday, despite the city government increasing supply for the second time this year. Auto dealers said the city government's measures to restrict access to the elevated highways during rush hours by cars with out-of-town plates played a vital role for the rising prices. Shanghai's auto show in April also boosted the number of new car owners who are not sensitive to prices, according to local auto dealers. The average price for a car plate rose for a fifth month to 47,700 yuan (US$7,338), up 301 yuan from April, according to Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co. The lowest price climbed 1,100 yuan to 47,400 yuan. The local government offered 9,000 car plates this month, 1,000 more than in April. In March, the quota was raised from 7,500 to 8,000. The number of bidders was 25,708, a jump from 22,326 last month. "Tightening controls over out-of-town plates are continuing to impact the market," said Zhang Yanzhi, a car dealer in Shanghai. "More people are also bidding this month because it's more than one month since the last auction, and many speculated that the increase in quota will lead prices down," Zhang added. The result beats expectations that the price would be cheaper this month due to rising petroleum prices and the quota increase.

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