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COE premiums end mostly lower

Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices ended mostly lower in the latest tender yesterday as buyers remained on the sidelines ahead of expected bargains at Cars@Expo, a retail event happening this weekend.

COE premiums for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp closed 2.6 per cent lower at $37,000, while those for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp finished 1.6 per cent higher at $37,605.

Premiums for Open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles, closed 0.1 per cent higher at $38,039.

Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, said the results were not unexpected. "The market has been very quiet in the last few weeks, perhaps because of weaker economic sentiment," he said.

He added that some car buyers may also be holding back in anticipation of discounts at Cars@Expo, which takes place at Singapore Expo this weekend. The annual retail event is seen as an attractive venue for bargains.

Ironically, COE prices are expected to rise immediately after such events. "Definitely, COE (prices) will shoot up again because of higher demand from bargain hunters," Mr Wong noted.

Meanwhile, commercial vehicle COE prices fell by 2.9 per cent to hit an 11-month low of $34,001.

Motorcycle premiums slid 6.4 per cent to end at a four-month low of $7,114. These have been breaching $8,000 to hit new highs since January. However, with Uber's exit from Singapore, observers expect some consolidation within the delivery market. Hence the demand for motorbikes - widely used by food couriers - is hitting the brakes for the time being.

In the months ahead, COE prices for cars could soften further because of another change to the Vehicular Emissions Scheme.

From July 1, particulate matter will be included in the list of pollutants measured in the scheme. As a result, more cars are expected to be slapped with tax surcharges, further hampering dealers' COE bidding power.

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