'No irregular bidding, market manipulation' for bike COEs

Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said the 305 bids for motorcycle certificates of entitlement received in the last two minutes of the bidding on Aug 8 came from 25 different parties.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said the 305 bids for motorcycle certificates of entitlement received in the last two minutes of the bidding on Aug 8 came from 25 different parties.ST FILE PHOTO

The authorities have not observed any "irregular bidding activity or market manipulation" for motorcycle certificates of entitlement (COEs), said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min in Parliament yesterday.

He was responding to Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC), who had asked about the surge in bids just before the tender closed on Aug 8, as well as whether there was any "market manipulation" keeping bike COE prices up.

Dr Lam said making last-minute bids is a common practice, which causes a spike just before bidding closes. The 305 bids for motorcycle COEs received in the last two minutes of the Aug 8 bidding came from 25 different parties, he said.

The number of bids submitted was generally small and at different price points, suggesting there was no collusion, he added.

Ms Lee had also asked if the Transport Ministry would consider increasing the bid deposit, as well as shortening the validity period of temporary motorcycle COEs, which now stands at six months.

Both suggestions would mean higher costs for dealers, said Dr Lam, which could end up being passed on to buyers. A shorter validity period could also make it more difficult for buyers to obtain motorcycles immediately, he said.

Dr Lam noted that motorcycle COE prices had fallen from $8,001 in January to $4,390 in the last round of bidding last Wednesday.

"While we have not observed any irregular bidding activity or market manipulation, LTA (Land Transport Authority) will continue to monitor the situation closely," he said, adding that the authorities are prepared to review the COE regulations "if and when warranted".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2018, with the headline ''No irregular bidding, market manipulation' for bike COEs'. Print Edition | Subscribe