COE quota for Nov-Jan period largely unchanged

People at the Audi showroom at Alexandra Road in 2014.
People at the Audi showroom at Alexandra Road in 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

The overall number of certificates of entitlement (COEs) available to bidders will remain largely unchanged in the November-to-January quota period.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that there will be 7,217 COEs up for grabs each month during the period, or 0.9 per cent fewer than the number during the current period. Car and motorcycle buyers will have to contend with fewer certificates, while businesses will have more, for commercial vehicles, with the quota growing 32.1 per cent to 481 a month.

Buyers of smaller cars (up to 1,600cc and 130bhp) will see a 1.8 per cent drop in supply to 3,313. Buyers of bigger cars (above 1,600cc or 130bhp) will have 3 per cent fewer COEs at 2,049, while the supply of Open certificates will dip by 0.3 per cent to 720.

Motorcyclists will likely continue to see stiff prices as they will have 654 COEs , down by 7.9 per cent.

Some motor traders were expecting the data, as many motorists had been extending the lifespan of their cars by revalidating their COEs.

According to LTA, there were 3,520 five-year revalidations in the first eight months of the year, more than double last year's 12-month figure. There were also 982 10-year revalidations - one-third more than last year's 12-month figure.

Motorists are resorting to keeping their old cars as it is more affordable than replacing them.

Meanwhile, demand for old rental cars, fuelled by taxi app companies like Uber and GrabTaxi, has also delayed the deregistration of eight- and nine-year-old cars.

However, traders expect the February-to-April quota to be significantly bigger. Mr Ron Lim, general manager of Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor, expects a spike in the number of cars reaching 10 years of age by the year end. "So any significant jump in quota will probably come in the next quota period, from February to April next year."

That could mean prices staying firm between now and February, motor traders said, unless consumer sentiment worsens in the light of a technical recession that Singapore is likely to slip into.

Singapore Vehicle Traders Association president Michael Lim reckons COE prices will remain largely unchanged at today's levels. "A recession will affect other sectors such as property. But if a person needs to change cars, he will do so."

Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of diversified motor group Prime, said premiums would "stabilise", but will slide if the Japanese yen appreciates further, and if regulators start enforcing car loan curbs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2015, with the headline 'COE quota for Nov-Jan period largely unchanged'. Print Edition | Subscribe