Mixed COE results despite higher demand

Certificate of entitlement premiums ended mixed in the latest tender yesterday as a bigger COE supply mitigated the effects of higher demand.

The COE premium for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp dipped 1 per cent lower than two weeks ago to $51,106. But the premium for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp rose by 1.8 per cent to hit a six-month high of $55,414.

Similarly, the price for Open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type but ends up mostly for bigger cars, reached a six-month peak of $55,000, a rise of 0.7 per cent from its previous close.

The commercial vehicle COE premium - which had previously plunged 42.3 per cent from $45,906 to a six-year low of $26,501 ahead of a supply surge in the May-July quota period - ended 1.8 per cent lower at $26,029.

Motorcycle COE premium ended 6.1 per cent down at $6,301.

Motor dealers reported strong sales at the just concluded Cars@ Expo, a retail bazaar organised by The Straits Times Classified.

A rush by dealers to clear existing stock before new emission regulations kick in later this year also continued to pressure premiums to move up. But a 15 per cent increase in the May-July quota softened the impact of stronger demand.

Singapore Vehicle Traders Association first vice-president Raymond Tang said demand for cars is "still healthy". He added that the commercial vehicle COE did not fall more sharply because "there were a lot of orders after last month's COE results".

Noting that several dealers were selling vehicles with COE rebate pegged at $15,000, he added: "Everybody wants to grab customers. That's one way to attract buyers."

Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, said: "It was actually quite a relief. We thought Cars@Expo would push prices up by a lot."

About 1,500 vehicles worth an estimated $160 million were sold at Cars@Expo over the weekend - compared with 1,200 vehicles worth $120 million at the previous event last October.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2017, with the headline 'Mixed COE results despite higher demand'. Subscribe