No big changes in COE prices

Despite a reduced Certificate of Entitlement (COE) quota in the current quarter, COE prices showed marginal movements at the close of the month's second tender exercise yesterday.

Car dealers said buyers have been holding back their purchases due to the weak economic climate, and the flurry of orders seen a few months ago is now on the wane.

The COE premium for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp went up by 1.6 per cent, from $52,503 two weeks ago to $53,334. But COE prices for bigger cars - those above 1,600cc or 130bhp - dipped by 2.4 per cent, from $57,903 to $56,500.

The open category, which can be used for any vehicle type but ends up mainly used for big cars, also saw a drop. Premiums fell about 2.1 percent from $58,201 to $56,956.

Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Kah Motor, said that COE prices are "stabilising". In the big car and open categories, prices have dropped because they had been on the rise previously and have hit a resistance level, he said.

Mr Wong also said: "The bookings have been slow, so dealers are not pricing their cars too high. Hence, they do not have so much margin to bid for the COEs."

Car dealers agreed that COE prices should have increased across the board, given the reduced supply in the August-October period.

Mr Victor Kwan, managing director for Wearnes Automotive, believes there are other factors at play. He said: "When the car loan curbs were eased a few months back, there was a surge in orders in early June... Now the orders have dropped quite a bit. That has had an impact all the way till now."

Meanwhile, COE prices for commercial vehicles fell from $48,302 to $48,001 and that for motorcycles edged up 2.4 per cent, from $6,206 to $6,352.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2016, with the headline 'No big changes in COE prices'. Print Edition | Subscribe