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COE cycles of boom and bust

By ST_Opinion on 03 Jul 2015 in Discussions, Singapore car news

Attached Image Since its inception in 1990, the vehicle quota system has followed a 10-year peak-and-trough cycle, where the annual supply of certificates of entitlement (COEs) could vary from 20,000 to 100,000.
Even if this fluctuation does not impair the effectiveness of the COE system in controlling Singapore's vehicle population, it is highly disruptive. For consumers, the price swings cause discontent, and trigger wasteful outcomes such as cars barely three years old being scrapped.
This is because when COE supply is on an upswing, the price of a new car could fall below the residual value of one bought two years earlier.
This negative equity has an impact on banks and financial institutions. In the case of defaults, these lenders cannot recoup their loans.
The recent curb on car loans mitigates this risk, but not fully.
The biggest disruption, however, is to the motor industry. When COEs are bountiful, companies raise their headcount to cope with the surge in sales - only to lay off people when the next dry spell hits.
This hire-and-fire pattern makes the sector a highly volatile one. This, in turn, makes skills development that much more challenging, not to mention the ripple effect that disrupted employment has on families and the economy at large. The industry is by no means insignificant. At last count, authorised agents accounted for 4,000 jobs. This could swell to 6,000 in the next two to three years, when COE supply peaks.
The figures exclude parallel importers and supporting businesses such as leather upholsterers, accessory shops, and logistics providers like car transporters and warehousing firms.
Industry players and advocates have appealed for a more stable and predictable COE supply pattern for some 20 years now. The Government has stood its ground, even when it was presented with the ideal environment a decade ago to make a change. That was when an oversupply brought COE prices down to $3,000 or less.
by Christopher Tan

coe, st opinion, straits times and 1 more...

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Written by ST_Opinion
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  • 1
Watwheels Jul 03 2015 10:22 AM

What am I reading here?

Dscheng Jul 03 2015 11:33 AM

Ya what exactly is this article talking about? Haha..

Fastfive1 Jul 03 2015 02:38 PM

Is he attempting to write an F grade Econs essay?

Fastfive1 Jul 03 2015 02:38 PM

We can't expect much from Chris

Voodooman Jul 04 2015 07:57 AM
Nothing new that he has not raised in previous articles. Strange he is repeating the same call again, maybe OCS really on the way and this is to prep the grounds.
Jamesc Jul 04 2015 03:11 PM

There is nothing wrong with boom and bust as long as there is a bust when I want to buy a car.


Now is all boom and no bust. When can we have a bust?


So you can say its now is all boom boom boom.

Jamesc Jul 04 2015 03:19 PM

All these criticism about Chris and that he is writing nothing original.


I would like to defend Chris and say


Maybe he is a product of our local education and he is trained to regurgitate?



Beehive3783 Jul 05 2015 02:49 AM

Ya ya as if we don't already know.



Matoonia Jul 06 2015 04:10 PM

Actually I think he is taking about the employment angle here? Regardless, there are boom and bust for many industries, property for example is also very susceptible to severe fluctuations. I guess people in these line will be adept in adjusting to the upswings and downswings

Vinceng Aug 02 2015 01:29 AM

The writer's statement in the last paragraph is incorrect. 


COE prices were NOT down to $3,000 or less because of an oversupply, BUT rather due to the 2008 financial crisis, considered by many economists to have been the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.


Even if  there is an oversupply of COE now, prices will never be close to a 4 digit figure.

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