COE prices continue climb

Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices continued to surge at the latest tender yesterday, with all categories ending higher, except for motorcycles.

The COE price for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp climbed 13.9 per cent to close at an eight-month high of $33,199. That for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp rose by 11.4 per cent to a 16-month peak of $48,000.

The price for the open COE - which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles but which ends up mostly for bigger cars - crept up by 8.7 per cent to end at $52,410 - also a 16-month high.

The commercial vehicle COE price chalked up the highest gain of 16 per cent to hit a 10-month high of $32,001. The motorcycle premium bucked the uptrend by finishing 1.4 per cent lower at $3,452.

Motor industry players were perplexed by the strong showing, given that showroom traffic has been weak in recent months.

Yesterday's surge followed an 18 per cent rise in the open COE price in the tender two weeks ago.

Indeed, the number of bids received yesterday for cars (including in the open category) fell by 4.6 per cent to 4,550 - and a drop of 21.3 per cent from 5,780 bids in January.

Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, said: "The drop in number of bids shows that there are fewer retail customers. So, the only reason premiums have gone up by so much is demand from private-hire players.

"No motor dealer will drive up premiums by so much and lose profit margins in the process."

Leading private-hire firm Grab has said it has secured US$1.46 billion (S$1.97 billion) in fresh funding, and that it intends to use the money to expand its business.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2019, with the headline 'COE prices continue climb'. Print Edition | Subscribe