Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Average car-plate price in Shanghai tops RMB 32,000

The Shanghai car-plate auction on March 29 met with mixed responses from bidders when the average price rebounded past RMB 30,000 ($4,250), fueled by a record number of participants and the government's efforts to streamline the process.

Those who cheered at the weekend auction were desperate car owners happy to get a plate with an average price lower by almost one-third than last year's level. Others, however, felt deep regret and complained the price rise since the January auction had exceeded their expectation.

The average successful bid rose to RMB 32,169 while the lowest winning price climbed to RMB 31,300, the organizer, Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co., said on its website. In January, the average price unexpectedly plunged to a six-year low of RMB 23,370 and the lowest price dropped to RMB 8,100 after the city government changed the rules and there were problems with electronic bidding.

The Shanghai government put 9,300 plates up for sale on Saturday -- the highest number since the system began in 2000, because the auction was delayed for nearly a month due to the Chinese New Year holiday break in February.

A total of 63,534 would-be plate owners, six times more than average, joined the bidding, including many who expect prices to mirror January's lows.

Prices rocketed from RMB 100 to more than RMB 18,000 only two minutes after the auction started at 10am, by which time about 20,000 people had offered bids. Ten minutes later, the lowest price broke through the RMB 23,000 barrier. It is estimated that about 12,000 bidders dropped out at that stage.

In January, the average winning price dropping almost 50 percent from the previous month to RMB 23,370.

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