Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices ended mixed in the latest tender yesterday - the last exercise before a new, slightly smaller quota kicks in next month.
The COE price for cars up to 1,600cc or 130bhp finished 5 per cent lower at $32,309. For cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp, it closed 1.1 per cent higher at $41,805.
The premium for the open COE - which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles, but ends up mostly for bigger cars - closed 2.5 per cent higher at $42,020.
While the increases were small, they have pushed both premiums for bigger cars to their highest in five months.
The commercial vehicle COE price ended 1.9 per cent lower at $26,001. The motorcycle premium finished 2.3 per cent higher at $3,889.
Motor traders expect premiums to hover at these current levels, with marginal movements up or down - thanks to a smaller-than-expected dip in supply in the November to January quota. The quota for car COEs, for instance, will shrink by only 1.9 per cent in the next three-month period.
Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of the diversified Prime group, said the latest results were within industry expectations. He said Category A (cars up to 1,600cc) remains weak, while Category B (cars above 1,600cc) has been fuelled by the renewed vigour of parallel importers.
After a slump last year, parallel importers - who source their cars from overseas dealers instead of manufacturers - have seen a rebound in sales.
The Straits Times understands that this has largely been on the back of more models garnering a favourable banding on the Vehicular Emissions Scheme, which metes out rebates or penalties based on a car's tailpipe pollutants.
"Parallel importers are a big force in Cat B," Mr Neo said. "The recent weakening yen has also given those who bring in Japanese cars more margin to bid for COEs."