US-educated Yi Gang becomes head of China's central bank


Yi Gang at the 12th NPC March 2017Image copyright
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Yi Gang is set to take over a central bank with new powers

US-educated economist Yi Gang has been named the next governor of China’s central bank, replacing Zhou Xiaochuan.

Mr Yi joined the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) 20 years ago and has been its deputy governor since 2008.

His appointment is being seen as one of ensured continuity as Beijing continues to try and rein in growing debt and limit risky financial practices.

The announcement was made on the second-last day of the annual sitting of the National People’s Congress.

Mr Yi will take over a central bank tasked with the ongoing reform of China’s financial landscape, including encouraging foreign investment into the financial markets, and monetary policy reform.

But he will also take over a bank with new powers.

Last week, as part of sweeping changes to China’s central government structure, the NPC said China’s central bank would have increased control over making new laws and regulations for the banking and insurance sectors.

It was also announced that a newly formed banking and insurance super regulator, formed out of a merger between the Banking Regulatory Commission and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, would oversee all of China’s banking and insurance sector – and would effectively report into the PBOC.

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Beijing-born Yi Gang has been deputy governor of China’s central bank since 2008

The reforms to the banking and finance regulatory systems will see the PBOC become one of the most powerful bodies in the country.

However, unlike the United States and other large democracies, China’s central bank does not operate independently of the government, and so Mr Yi will ultimately report into President Xi Jinping.

At the beginning of the NPC earlier this month, China approved the removal of the two-term limit on the presidency, effectively allowing Xi Jinping to remain in power for life.

Mr Yi has a degree in economics from Beijing University, together with a master’s degree and PhD in economics from the University of Illinois, US.



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