News Regulations19 Mar 2018

China:Choice of next central bank governor signals continuity

19 Mar 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping has picked American-trained economist Mr Yi Gang, who has long pushed for pro-market overhauls, to take the helm of the central bank, the People's Bank of China (PBOC), reports The Wall Street Journal citing people with knowledge of the matter.

He will preside over a more powerful PBOC which, in a major government reshuffle, has been given the authority to formulate regulations for the insurance sector.

Mr Yi, currently a vice governor at the central bank, will replace Mr Zhou Xiaochuan who has been PBOC Governor for 15 years and is set to retire.

The National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, will almost certainly approve President Xi Jinping’s choice for governor of the People’s Bank of China in a formal vote due today, reports Bloomberg.

By promoting an official who has served as Number Two to the incumbent governor, China is signaling that it is seeking policy continuity.

Mr Yi faces complex challenges. The most pressing will be pushing forward with Mr Xi’s financial cleanup to reduce risk.

He will oversee a PBOC that is given the authority to write regulations for the insurance and banking sectors, and maintain its status as the most powerful body in the Financial Stability and Development Committee which was formed last July to deal with cross-sectoral issues.

Mr Zhou has already flagged the risks that await his successor, warning last October about the potential for a collapse in asset prices after the popping of a credit bubble. In November, Mr Zhou again aired concerns over the nation’s debt-related risks, warning of “hidden, complex, sudden, contagious and hazardous” dangers.


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