Tue, Feb 05, 2013 - Page 15 News List

PRC’s central bank boss to step down soon: report

LONG SERVICE:After overseeing a decade of change in China’s financial system, an official newspaper said that Zhou would step down, with a successor as yet unnamed


Chinese central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan (周小川) will step down from his position next month, the China Securities Journal reported, without citing anyone.

The report, part of a profile of Zhou on Saturday, may be the first time that an official media organization has reported on the timing of his departure from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). The newspaper is published by the Xinhua news agency.

The article adds to signs that Zhou, 65, whose decade of service makes him the longest-tenured PBOC chief, will leave his post soon.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) omitted him from its revamped central committee list in November last year and he was listed on Saturday as a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the top political advisory body.

The bank’s news office did not immediately respond to faxed questions from reporters about how much longer Zhou will serve.

Under Chinese law, China’s central bank governor must be named by the premier and endorsed by the National People’s Congress.

The legislative body is scheduled to meet next month.

The China Securities Journal piece includes several unattributed anecdotes about Zhou.

In one story, Zhou played tennis with Lawrence Summers, then the top economic adviser to US President Barack Obama, in Beijing in September 2010 and joked that the winner of the game would dictate exchange-rate policies between the two countries. Summers lost, the newspaper said.

The newspaper said Zhou’s use of English phrases at central bank meetings once sent a department director rushing out of the room for a dictionary. The paper did not identify the official or what Zhou said.

Zhou oversaw an overhaul of the country’s exchange rate system in July 2005 that paved the way for the yuan to appreciate.

He also loosened controls over the use of the yuan for international trade and investment purposes and gave banks more freedom to set lending and deposit rates.

Potential successors include Shang Fulin (尚福林), China’s banking regulator, and Guo Shuqing (郭樹清), head of the securities regulator, David Loevinger, former senior coordinator for China affairs at the US Department of the Treasury, said last year.

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