Singapore

Car COE prices at their highest in more than a year

Certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums ended mostly higher at the latest tender yesterday as pent-up demand continued to exert pressure.

The COE price for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp posted the biggest increase, closing at $35,710, or 8.2 per cent higher than the previous price two weeks ago.

For cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp, the COE price finished 4.6 per cent higher at $38,802.

Open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles, but is used mostly for bigger cars, ended 4.4 per cent higher at $38,110.

Commercial vehicle COE ended 3.8 per cent higher at $25,006.

All four are now at their highest levels in more than a year.

The motorcycle premium was the only exception. It ended 3.5 per cent lower at $7,432.

Motor traders point to the smaller quota, as well as pent-up demand from the suspension of car sales over the circuit breaker period, for the buoyant prices.

Singapore Vehicle Traders Association president Eddie Loo said the fact that the next tender is three weeks away had also added pressure to the latest exercise. "Bidders are worried that if they miss this round, they would have to wait three weeks for another chance," he said.

COE tenders are held twice a month, and most exercises are two weeks apart. But in some months, three-week gaps do occur.

Mr Loo added that the market is still weak, but there is a backlog of orders, and the COE supply is expected to continue shrinking. Yet, he said, the high premiums will not be sustainable, given the economic downturn and job losses. - THE STRAITS TIMES

Transport