COE premiums end mixed amid weak buying sentiment

Certificate of entitlement prices ended mixed in the latest tender on Oct 17, 2018.
Certificate of entitlement prices ended mixed in the latest tender on Oct 17, 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices ended mixed in the latest tender yesterday as demand for new vehicles remained subdued.

The COE price for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp slipped by 10.2 per cent to close at a three-month low of $25,556.

The COE premium for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp was practically unchanged, closing just $1 higher at $31,302.

The premium for Open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles, but ends up almost exclusively for cars, finished 1.1 per cent higher at $32,900.

The commercial vehicle COE price closed 3.5 per cent higher at $29,501. Motorcycle premium fell by 3.8 per cent to end at $3,951 - its lowest since June 2014.

Motor traders said buying sentiment had remained weak in light of an uncertain economic outlook.

Mr Ron Lim, head of sales and marketing at Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor, said: "New buyers are not chasing for COE. And the market has basically been just clearing a backlog of old orders."

Mr Lim said buyers seem to be cautious, perhaps in light of a weak economic outlook. He added that the next three-month COE quota due soon is likely to show an increase in supply, thereby suppressing premiums further.

At the same time, the generally low premiums may encourage those who bought cars with high COE prices three or four years ago to trade in their vehicles for a new one.

"Those who renewed their COE - either of five or 10 years - when premiums were $40,000 to $50,000, may also find it attractive to scrap their cars and get a new one now."

TRADE-INS ATTRACTIVE

Those who renewed their COE - either of five or 10 years - when premiums were $40,000 to $50,000, may also find it attractive to scrap their cars and get a new one now.

MR RON LIM, head of sales and marketing at Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor.

Meanwhile, observers reckon that motorcycle COE speculation has eased on the back of recent public attention. COE premiums for two-wheelers are now at their lowest in over four years.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2018, with the headline 'COE premiums end mixed amid weak buying sentiment'. Print Edition | Subscribe