COE prices end mixed in tender with bigger quota

Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices yesterday ended mixed in the latest tender - the first with a bigger quota.

The COE premium for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp closed 10.3 per cent higher at $28,199, while that for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp finished 3.2 per cent higher at $32,302.

The price for open COEs, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles but end up used mostly for cars, finished 2.7 per cent lower at $32,000.

The commercial vehicle COE premium was unchanged at $29,501. The motorcycle premium plunged by 36.5 per cent to $2,509 - the lowest since January 2014.

The new three-month COE supply is nearly 4 per cent larger for car buyers, and some 35 per cent larger for bike buyers.

But there were two factors offsetting the enlarged quota yesterday.

First, a longer three-week gap between the last tender exercise and yesterday's, which resulted in more bookings. Most intervals are two weeks, but becausesome months are longer, tenders are occasionally three weeks apart.

Second, the recently concluded Cars@Expo sales bazaar also contributed to a healthier order bank.

Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of diversified motor group Prime, said: "It's nothing to be too excited about. Cars@Expo was expected to raise premiums by around $3,000 anyway.

"The increase was moderate because dealers had slashed prices, and no longer had margins to bid aggressively for COEs."

Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, said the motorbike premium could have been lower if not for "hoarding" by dealers. "It was only $200 at the last five minutes of trading," he noted, explaining that since motorbike COEs are effectively transferable, dealers will snap up certificates when premiums are low.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2018, with the headline 'COE prices end mixed in tender with bigger quota'. Print Edition | Subscribe