Singapore

COEs end higher in first tender after suspension

Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices ended higher across the board in the latest tender yesterday - the first after a three-month suspension.

Bidding was put on ice in April when non-essential businesses were closed to stem transmission of the coronavirus.

When bidding ended at 4pm yesterday, COE for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp closed at $33,520, 7.4 per cent higher than its previous close in March.

COE for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp finished 19.6 per cent higher at $35,889.

Open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles but which ends up mostly for bigger cars, closed 7.7 per cent higher at $34,989.

Commercial vehicle COE climbed 11.4 per cent to end at $24,502.

Motor traders said the increases were fuelled by pent-up demand, which was partially cooled by a slight increase in COE supply.

Though the number of bids received doubled, premiums rose by no more than 20 per cent, to return to where they were in January.

EXPECTATION

"The results were pretty much within expectation," said multi-franchise group Jardine Cycle & Carriage's managing director of direct motor interests Eric Chan.

Another reason for the relatively subdued rise was that cars were priced with thin margins.

Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor's sales and marketing head Ron Lim said there seems to be "a sense of desperation" among dealers who were out to secure COEs "at all cost just to move their stock".

Mr Lim noted that many cars were priced $5,000 to $10,000 lower than they were in March.

"So definitely no margins to be made," he said, adding that storage cost and arrival of new shipments added pressure on dealers to clear existing stock.

Motorcycle COE prices rose by 71.6 per cent to end at $7,702 - its highest in over two years, and not far from the record of $8,451 in February 2018.

Dealers expect car COEs to soften in the coming months. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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