CERTIFICATE of Entitlement (COE) prices spiked sharply at yesterday's tender - the last such exercise before a sizeable reduction in supply kicks in next month - taking industry players aback and sparking calls for calm.
The big increases floored industry players. Many expected prices to rise before the supply cut, but few were prepared for hikes of over 10 per cent to 15 per cent.
But in what some quarters described as being akin to a last-ditch rush, a flood of bids pushed COEs for cars up to 1,600cc higher by 36.5 per cent, to $28,389; the premium for cars above 1,600cc rose 36.8 per cent, to $36,089.
Open category COEs, which can be used for any vehicle type but are mainly sought by car buyers, shot up by 52.2 per cent to reach $42,001, a level not seen since the 1990s. Commercial vehicle premiums were 21.8 per cent steeper at $32,890, while motorcycle COEs were 3.5 per cent higher at $1,200.
'This is beyond all expectations,' said Mr Neo Nam Heng, president of the Automotive Importers and Exporters Association. 'The prices really caught the market by surprise.
'But I don't think they reflect actual demand. There's a bit of desperation in the bidding.'