Shanghai Daily 2012.09 – Shanghai’s car plate prices hit a record high yesterday as the usual peak season for car purchases approaches.

The average price for a Shanghai car plate shot up to 66,425 yuan (US$10,521), 3,866 yuan more than last month while the lowest successful bid increased 3,600 yuan to 65,700 yuan, Shanghai Commodity International Auction Co said.

Plate prices increased even though the auction attracted the fewest number of bidders this year and after the city’s traffic authority earlier moved to curb speculative bidding. Since July, the holding period for a car plate was extended from one to three years.

“The new rule did push some scalpers out of the game. I think the falling number of participants is the greatest proof of that,” said Eddie Zhang, a second-hand car dealer in Shanghai.

The city made 9,500 car plates available for bidding this month, the same as August, July and June. Only 19,114 people participated in the auction, down 10 percent from August, which posted a 20 percent drop in bidders from the previous month.

Car plate prices dropped in June after rising for seven straight months. But upward momentum is gaining.

“The demand for car plates is definitely on the rise as the auto market is entering its sales campaign season around October,” Zhang said.

“And there is pent-up demand to be unleashed as more bidders may start to abandon their wait-and-see approach.”

Vicky Ye, who plans to buy a car, said she had been anticipating a plate price decrease after the new rule came out. After yesterday’s auction she said she is reconsidering her bidding strategy.

“I was hoping that the price surge would cool down along with the speculation fanned by scalpers,” Ye said. “But the market seems to be going the other way.”