SHANGHAI — Shares in Chinese automakers soared Friday on a report that the country's powerful economic planner was appealing for the removal of limits on new car purchases in some cities.
The National Development and Reform Commission has asked the State Council, or cabinet, to ease restrictions such as the ones imposed in Beijing this year to ease traffic jams, the National Business Daily said, citing unnamed sources.
The Shanghai-based newspaper said the move was aimed at boosting the world's biggest auto market, which has seen sales slide as the government removes stimulus measures and major cities introduce measures to reduce car numbers.
Officials at the NDRC were not immediately available to comment when contacted by AFP.
Xiong Chuanlin, deputy secretary general of the industry group China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, told AFP the report was not true.
Shenzhen-listed Chongqing Changan Automobile surged 4.2 percent to 9.11 yuan ($1.4) while Shanghai-listed SAIC Motor, the nation's biggest car maker, rose 2.9 percent to 18.97 yuan.
Hong Kong-listed Guangzhou Automobile Group soared 8.7 percent to 9.16 Hong Kong dollars ($1.2).
Sales in China rose more than 32 percent last year to a record 18.06 million units but the sector has since lost steam as Beijing phases out sales incentives introduced to ward off the impact of the global financial crisis.
Auto sales in China, which overtook the US to become the world's top auto market in 2009, fell 3.98 percent from a year earlier in May to 1.38 million units, declining for the second straight month.
The Beijing city government said late last year it would allow 240,000 passenger cars to be registered this year through a licence plate lottery system to help ease the Chinese capital's chronic traffic congestion.
The number was less than one-third of 750,000 new cars hitting the streets in the previous year and analysts have said local governments in other cities such as Guangzhou in the south may take similar measures.
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