FILE PHOTO: Governor of People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Yi Gang attends a news conference on China’s economic development ahead of the 70th anniversary of its founding, in Beijing, China September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress, on Sunday unexpectedly reappointed Yi Gang, 65, as governor of the People’s Bank of China and Liu Kun, 66, as finance minister, despite both men having reached retirement age.
The moves preserve continuity in key economic policymaking roles after Li Qiang, 63, was on Saturday installed as premier, replacing Li Keqiang.
Following are comments from economists and analysts.
ZHIWEI ZHANG, CHIEF ECONOMIST, PINPOINT ASSET MANAGEMENT
“It is a positive surprise to the market. The government sent a positive signal to the market by keeping these senior financial experts in the cabinet. The global economic outlook is challenging. Continuity and stability in the leadership of economic and financial affairs are helpful to boost market confidence.”
XU TIANCHEN, ECONOMIST, ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT, BEIJING
“Yi’s nomination could provide some reassurance that the PBOC won’t deviate too much from its role as a central bank. That said, the influence from the top leadership on its work will remain large, and the bank is expected to assume greater responsibilities in supporting economic priorities, including the development of advanced technologies and decarbonisation.
“I think it’s reflective of Xi’s preference for technocrats. Yi is a renowned economist and Liu has been a fiscal expert throughout his career so far. Xi will count on these appointments to ensure his visions are executed by capable officials, even if they are not his trusted affiliates and may break the norm on age limits.”
ALFRED WU, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT LEE KUAN YEW SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE
“It shows China wants to at least have a dialogue with the United States on financial cooperation and monetary policy, which is a global thing. The U.S. side will be much more comfortable with someone like Yi Gang in charge.”
MATTIE BEKIND, CHINA DIRECTOR, ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE CORPORATE NETWORK, SHANGHAI
“This comes as a surprise to me. But maybe it shouldn’t. If you look at the unambitious GDP growth target, it prioritises credibility because it will be easily achieved.
“It is also perhaps a tacit acknowledgment of some of the challenges for Beijing at the moment and the reassurance of familiar, experienced leaders might be beneficial.
“So perhaps keeping Yi Gang and Liu Kun on in these consequential positions suggests they are considered safe pairs of hands during a challenging time for China.”
DONG XIMIAO, CHIEF RESEARCHER, MERCHANTS UNION CONSUMER FINANCE COMPANY CO, BEIJING
“Yi staying in the position would help in maintaining monetary policy stability and continuity and ensuring financial support for the real economy won’t weaken.
“The decision would better implement the State Council institutional reform plan, coordinate and push for reforms of the central bank’s branch organs and ramp up building a modern central bank system.”
BRUCE PANG, CHIEF ECONOMIST, JONES LASALLE, HONG KONG
“It will help to forge the consistency of China’s monetary and fiscal policies as well as to facilitate the collaboration of macro policies with a more growth-friendly stance.”