CERTIFICATES of entitlement prices continued to trek northwards in the latest tender, the first after last Friday’s announcement of quota numbers for the August-January period.
COE for cars up to 1,600cc and taxis inched up by 0.02 per cent to end at $56,002. Those for cars above 1,600cc ended 5.8 per cent higher at $72,501.
Both premiums are now at their highest in 14 years.
Open category COE, which can be used for any vehicle type but ends up mainly for cars, chalked the biggest rise yesterday. It rose by 8.3 per cent to finish at a six-month high of $74,490.
Commercial vehicle COE was 5.9 per cent higher at $34,502, while the motorcycle premium slipped by 14.7 per cent to close at $2,012.
Motor traders said the latest results reflected changes to the COE supply. The two premiums which rose the most yesterday – those for cars above 1,600cc and commercial vehicles – will also have the biggest quota reductions in the next six months.
And even though cars up to 1,600cc will actually have more certificates available, dealers said contractions in the other categories will drive companies to focus more on sales of their smaller models now. This is especially so for premium brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Audi, which now have models below 1,600cc. BMW is expected to join the fray soon.
Premier Taxis contributed to yesterday’s price rise. It secured 20 COEs at $56,002 apiece, among the costliest certificates paid for by a taxi company.
Industry players said COEs are unlikely to soften any time soon.
‘Premiums can only go up,’ said Mr Alvyn Ang, director of operations of multi-brand agent Cycle Carriage.
Mr Ron Lim, general manager at Nissan agent Tan Chong, said: ‘Indications are that they will continue to point upwards.’
He added that the trade’s biggest worry now is whether the Government will lower the 1.5 per cent annual allowable growth rate in Singapore’s vehicle population – a determinant of COE supply.
‘The 1.5 per cent now accounts for 30 to 40 per cent of COE supply in each category. If it is brought down to zero, all hell will break loose,’ he said.
CHRISTOPHER TAN (The Straits Times)