Muted COE demand despite motor show

Industry players said fears of an economic slowdown and more job losses this year may have dampened the buying fervour that usually follows a motor show.
Industry players said fears of an economic slowdown and more job losses this year may have dampened the buying fervour that usually follows a motor show.PHOTO: ST FILE

Certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums ended mostly lower at the latest tender yesterday, despite expectations of higher demand whipped up by the just-ended Singapore Motorshow.

The COE price for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp inched upwards by 1.6 per cent to finish at $50,889, while that for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp ended at $52,807, a dip of 0.6 per cent from the previous close.

The premium for the Open category, which can be used for any vehicle type but ends up mostly for bigger cars, was 0.8 per cent lower at $52,600.

Industry players said fears of an economic slowdown and more job losses this year may have dampened the buying fervour that usually follows a motor show. Organisers said more than 47,000 people flocked to the Singapore Motorshow 2017, which ended on Sunday at Suntec convention centre.

Mr Ron Lim, general manager of Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor, said the market was "very quiet" before the show. "Orders came in only during the show, and we understand finance companies did not have time to approve all the loans submitted," he said, adding that the delay may have contributed to the relatively subdued results as well.

Traders said premiums were likely to have been even softer if not for a block of 300 bids, which came in during the last 45 minutes of bidding. The 300 bids, they believe, were from private-hire players such as Uber and Grab.

Mr Lim said that dealers may also be restrained because the COE supply in the next quota starting February is expected to be larger.

Not so for commercial vehicles, though. The COE supply for vans, trucks and buses is expected to be smaller. Yesterday, the COE price for that category closed 1.5 per cent higher at $47,001.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2017, with the headline 'Muted COE demand despite motor show'. Print Edition | Subscribe