CERTIFICATE of entitlement (COE) prices ended lower at the latest tender yesterday, continuing a slide that started soon after the Government said it would manage the severe shortage three weeks ago.
The premium for cars up to 1,600cc and taxis ended 7.3 per cent lower at $58,001. For cars above 1,600cc, it fell by 7.4 per cent to close at $85,216.
COEs in the open category, which are for any vehicle type but end up being used mainly for bigger cars, finished 2.4 per cent weaker at $86,889.
The premium for commercial vehicles closed at $57,106, down 2.5 per cent from two weeks ago, while the one for motorcycles slipped by 6.5 per cent to $1,890.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said three weeks ago that he had asked the Land Transport Authority to explore ways to mitigate a crunch in the supply of certificates that could last until next year.
For example, plans to lower an annual cap on the growth in Singapore's vehicle population from 1.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent could be introduced more gradually.
Mr Lui said he had also asked the authority whether it could defer a planned measure to claw back certificates following an oversupply in past years.
The number of certificates, which motorists must secure before they can own a vehicle, has been falling since 2009. Last year, there were fewer than 30,000 for cars, and this year, the figure is expected to fall below 25,000.
Between 2004 and 2008, the annual average was 105,000.
Motor traders said that Mr Lui's statements had created some uncertainty among buyers, who are now adopting a wait- and-see stance.
Taxi companies, however, are not.
Yesterday, they submitted some 230 bids, or one-quarter of the total made at the tender. The highest bids, at $60,999, were from SMRT.
This helped to push the premium for cars up to 1,600cc from around $52,000 to $58,000 within the final minutes of bidding, said Mr Ron Lim, general manager of Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor.