More COEs available in next quarter

There will be more certificates of entitlement (COEs) available from next month to January next year.

Each month in the next three months, 3,977 COEs will be put up for bidding, a 5.3 per cent increase from the current quota.

For the small car category, the monthly COE quota will be almost doubled, compared with that in the same period a year ago.

The increase in COEs available is mainly due to more cars being deregistered in preceding months.

Owners who bought cars between 2004 and 2008 - when the COE numbers were high - will have to deregister them soon.

In general, the supply of car COEs will increase by 10 per cent to 22 per cent in the next quarter.

For the small car category, or cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp, there will be 1,396 COEs available each month, up from 1,143.

For larger cars, or those above 1,600cc or 130bhp, there will be 1,138 COEs for bidding, up from 1,010.

For the open category, which covers any vehicle type but usually ends up being used for big cars, the COE quota will be 527 a month, up from 478.

There will be 634 COEs a month for motorcycles in the coming quarter, up from 631 previously.

The category for commercial and goods vehicles is the only one to see a drop in COEs available monthly - from 515 to 282.

The Land Transport Authority said this is because COEs in this category are being made available directly to the market through the Early Turnover Scheme, which gives owners of old, pollutive vehicles pro-rated COE premiums when they deregister their vehicles early.

Vehicle replacements under the scheme as a proportion of deregistrations has increased to 70 per cent for the coming quota, up from 16 per cent in the February to April quota this year.

Despite the increase in COE availability, car dealers expect prices to remain firm due to seasonal demand.

Singapore Vehicle Traders Association president Neo Tiam Ting said: "Typically, demand is about 10 per cent to 20 per cent higher around the year end. People like to buy cars during the Christmas and New Year period, and before Chinese New Year."

Mr Victor Kwan, managing director of Wearnes Automotive, said there will also be many who have scrapped their cars and are looking for new ones.

At the close of the latest COE bidding exercise last week, premiums for small cars finished at $63,880.

Those for big cars ended at $72,180.

The COE price for the open category was $72,003.

adrianl@sph.com.sg