China appoints US-trained central banker

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

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

US-educated economist Yi Gang has been named the next governor of China's central bank, the People's Bank of China (PBOC). He is seen as providing continuity in policies such as liberalising the Chinese currency, curbing debts and attracting foreign investment.

Analysts say Yi will likely make financial risk prevention a key priority and step up regulations to cut debt from state-run companies and local governments.

His appointment breaks a long-standing practice to keep people with extensive experience overseas out of top government jobs.

Yi has a PhD in economics from the University of IL and won tenure as a professor at Indiana University.

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

In his 15 years as governor, Zhou is credited with persistently pushing ahead with gradual financial reforms, including the liberalization of bank lending and deposit rates and the yuan's exchange rate.

Liu He, a long-time key economic advisor to Mr Xi, was most recently sent to the United States as Beijing's envoy for negotiations over controversial new trade tariffs.

Policy insiders said Yi's appointment on Monday can be seen as a victory for Zhou.


Liu, who speaks fluent English, gained a master's degree in public administration at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 1995.

The PBOC and other regulators are trying to rein in risks from an increasingly complex financial system and a rapid build-up in debt without jolting markets or hurting economic growth.

In the cabinet, he will oversee economic and financial matters.

With Yi's background and his reputation of being pro-reform, his nomination would be good news for foreign investors, Xie also said.

Zhou was China's longest-running central bank chief, staying on past retirement age after he was appointed a vice chairman of the top advisory body to parliament in 2013, a move that made him a national leader.

Separately, Liu Kun, head of the budget office of parliament, was elected to be the new finance minister, replacing Xiao Jie.

That would put Liu on a similar standing with former economic tsar Zhu Rongji, known for his tough handling of hyperinflation and the economic chaos in the 1990s.

He Lifeng and Zhong Shan will keep their positions as chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission and minister of commerce respectively.

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