Singapore

COE prices mostly up, with more orders collected in three-week break

Certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums ended mostly higher in the latest tender on Wednesday as a three-week break from the previous exercise gave dealers more time to collect orders.

The COE price for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp closed 0.7 per cent higher at $47,000.

The COE price for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp climbed 2.6 per cent higher to end at $62,600 - its highest since July 2015.

The premium for Open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles but which ends up mostly for bigger cars, ended 0.3 per cent lower at $64,700.

The commercial vehicle COE was priced at $40,001 - almost unchanged from the previous $40,010.

The motorcycle premium rose by 2 per cent to reach a new record of $9,689.

Industry observers said a smaller quota, the reopening of the economy last month after the latest Covid-19 measures were eased, and the longer three-week gap between tenders contributed to more aggressive bids.

Usually, tenders are held every two weeks or twice a month. But because some months are longer, three-week gaps occur occasionally. More often than not, they lead to higher premiums.

But Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of diversified motor group Prime, said the increases were modest given the three-week bidding gap and the small quota.

"There're so few car COEs, and yet the increases were marginal," he said.

"This is a clear sign that the market is still weak. In fact, if this was a two-week exercise, prices would have dropped."

According to the Land Transport Authority, the number of bids received for car COEs (including the Open category) was about 3 per cent fewer than in the previous tender.

However, the number of bids is not always an indicator of bookings. Sometimes, car dealers stagger bids according to stock availability, as well as not to drive prices too high.

The fact that the Open category had dipped may also indicate lower confidence among bidders. Open COEs are secured by dealers for urgent deliveries and have to be used within three months, instead of six for the other two car COE categories. - THE STRAITS TIMES

Transport