Car COE prices up as traders clear backlog

Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices ended mostly higher at the latest tender yesterday as traders rushed to clear a backlog of orders.

COE for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp rose by 3.4 per cent to close at $33,798. COE for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp climbed 5.6 per cent to hit $34,381.

Open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles but end up mostly for cars, finished 1.9 per cent higher at $33,420.

Despite this, these COEs remain at close to their lowest in several years. In fact, it was a plunge to $25,000 last month which triggered a surge in bookings.

Mr Ron Lim, head of sales and marketing at Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor, said the latest results were "basically traders clearing backlog of orders".

Even after yesterday, more than 3,000 bidders failed to secure a car COE. As such, Mr Lim said "prices are not going to correct any time soon".

Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, said a three-week gap - instead of the usual two - also contributed to more bids collected.

Mr Wong said more used cars from Uber's rental fleet flooding the second-hand market might also dampen demand for new cars - and thus COEs - in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, commercial COE slipped 1.6 per cent lower to $30,389 yesterday. Motorcycle premium posted a 10.9 per cent fall to hit a nine-month low of $5,514.

Mr Wong, who is also responsible for Honda motorcycles, said motorbike COE should have plunged further given that the new quota is much bigger.

For the August-October period, motorcycle COE supply is 56 per cent bigger at 1,639 per month.

"If the car COE quota had risen by that much, premiums would have crashed," Mr Wong said, adding that some bidders must be keeping prices up artificially.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2018, with the headline 'Car COE prices up as traders clear backlog'. Print Edition | Subscribe