Certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums ended mostly higher at the latest tender yesterday as pent-up demand continued to exert pressure.
Car COE prices end 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. PHOTOS: ST FILE

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% higher than the previous price two weeks ago.

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

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

Commercial vehicle COE ended 3.8% 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% 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 as some months are longer, three-week gaps do occur occasionally.

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. Indeed, Mr. Ron Lim, sales and marketing head at Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor, noted that fresh bookings have slowed down.

"But the market is still trying to digest the backlog of orders collected during the circuit breaker," he said.