COE prices creep up

Premiums for certificates of entitlement (COEs) ended mostly higher in the latest tender yesterday, in response to an unexpected flat supply of certificates in the November-January quota.

The COE price for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp closed 2.3 per cent higher at $57,301. The price for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp finished 2.9 per cent higher at $59,889.

The price for Open category COE, which can be used for any vehicle type but ends up mainly for bigger cars, rose by 2 per cent to $60,000.

The motorcycle COE climbed 1.6 per cent to end at a three-month high of $6,302.

However, the commercial vehicle COE premium bucked the trend to close 5.8 per cent lower at $42,303.

Industry observers pointed to several factors for the latest results, which came just a week after the Land Transport Authority announced that supply of car COEs would shrink by 0.3 per cent to 3 per cent in the next three-month quota period.

The number of motorbike certificates would also fall by nearly 8 per cent.

There would, however, be a 32 per cent spike in commercial vehicle COEs available for bidding.

Improved performance of the Singapore stock market was cited as one reason for the latest results. The benchmark Straits Times Index Index went from about 2,800 just three weeks ago to cross the 3,000 mark. Singapore also averted a technical recession, albeit narrowly, in the third quarter.

Traders said price cuts after last fortnight's drop in COE premiums had also drawn more buyers to showrooms.

"It is a knee-jerk response," said Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor. "Everybody was expecting more COEs to be released."

He added that premiums could continue to climb until the next quota is announced in January.

Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of diversified motor group Prime, however, said that prices would stabilise. "Besides Mercedes-Benz, no one has margins to bid much higher," he said.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2015, with the headline 'COE prices creep up'. Print Edition | Subscribe