COE Analysis October 2022 1st Round: Back to Normal?

Ben Chia

Category B COE premiums fell below the S$100,000 mark for the first time in four months in the latest bidding exercise for October. Could this be the start of the slide back to normalcy?


The first Certificate of Entitlement (COE) bidding exercise for October 2022 saw premiums fall across the board for all car categories, with Category B especially seeing a massive drop to go below the 100 grand mark for the first time in months.

In Cat A, which is reserved for cars with internal combustion engine (ICE) that are less than 1.6-litres in capacity and output of less than 130hp, and electric cars with an output of less than 147hp, prices went down by S$3,499 to end at S$80,501.

Category B, which is for ICE cars with engines that make more than 130hp, or are above 1.6-litres in capacity, and electric cars with outputs of more than 147hp, saw a huge drop of S$12,195 to end at S$95,856, marking the first time since June that premiums have dipped below the S$100,000 mark in this category.

Category E meanwhile, which is open to all vehicles except motorcycles, but usually ends up being used for big cars, saw a drop of S$2,200 to end at S$105,001, a further decline from the record high mark of S$113,299 that was set two exercises ago in September.

COE Prices for October 2022, 1st Round

While the fall in premiums do buck the trend of rising prices that have been observed over the past few months, industry observers noted that it wasn’t all that surprising, and that it really was just a matter of time before COE prices started falling from their historic highs.

The reality on the ground is that car buying sentiment have been relatively weak for all but the biggest of brands, thanks to the combination of high prices and a sluggish economy hampered by inflation. Many marginal brands, notably the fringe non-German European makes, have been struggling for sales this year, and Alfa Romeo’s distributor here has already closed its showroom and relinquished its rights to another dealer.

BlueSG Corsa-e
Expect to see more of these cars on the roads soon

The issue it seems is that COE prices have apparently been propped up artificially by mass bids from fleet operators, such as ride hailing and car sharing companies. While they continue to insist that they have not made a huge impact on COE premiums, their actions do seem to suggest otherwise, with BlueSG recently announcing that they’re adding some 500 Opel Corsa-e EVs to their fleet over the next few months.

The dip we’re seeing could merely be a correction to the mean, and provide a more accurate sense of what it’s like out there for car buyers. S$90,000 COEs should be just about right for the current COE quota environment, but six figure premiums just feel somewhat unsustainable for the long term.

That said, it makes the next bidding exercise much more intriguing. Will we see a rebound back above the 100 grand mark? Or will things start to settle back to a state of normalcy? Although, having said that, given the current environment, what really is ‘normal’ now is very much a matter of debate.


Analysis coe october 2022

About the Author

Ben Chia

CarBuyer's print editor went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world. Follow Ben on Instagram @carbuyer.ben

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