COE premiums down in most categories

Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices ended mostly lower in the latest tender yesterday, as the market cooled with the year-end school holidays.

The COE premium for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp slid 3.7 per cent to $56,989, and that for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp dipped by 1.8 per cent to finish at $60,001.

The open COE category, which can be used for any vehicle type but ends up mostly for bigger cars, fell by 3.3 per cent to close at $60,003.

This was despite a three-week gap from the previous tender. Usually the gap is two weeks; a longer break gives car dealers more time to collect orders. More orders usually translate into more aggressive bids, and higher premiums.

Mr Ron Lim, general manager of Nissan agent Tan Chong Motors, said: "The car market is still pretty weak. Partly, it's the school holidays - people are away, or are in no mood to buy.

"Dealers are also less aggressive. Those who were rushing to meet sales targets had already gone all out in the last round."

An imminent surge in COE supply may also have tempered bidding yesterday.

"The next COE quota (starting in February) could see supply go up by as much as 50 per cent," Mr Lim said.

According to the Land Transport Authority, the number of cars deregistered - the main determinant of future COE supply - rose noticeably in October, with 7,025 cars taken off the road, 16 per cent more than in September.

Meanwhile, the COE premium for commercial vehicles climbed 4.8 per cent to end at a four-month high of $48,101.

Mr Michael Wong, general manager of Isuzu agent Triangle Auto, said this was because of more COEs for light commercial vehicles expiring.

The motorcycle COE premium was flat, ending $1 lower at $6,501.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2015, with the headline 'COE premiums down in most categories'. Print Edition | Subscribe