China appoints Pan Gongsheng as new central bank governor – state media

BEIJING: China has appointed Pan Gongsheng, known for being a firefighting technocrat, as new governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), following his elevation to the central bank’s top political post this month.

On Tuesday, state media confirmed Pan, who from 2016 headed up China’s top foreign exchange regulator, as the replacement for respected governor Yi Gang, making him the first person to take over both posts since Yi’s predecessor Zhou Xiaochun.

Pan is known for taking a tough stance against currency speculators and was also involved in state banking reforms, tightening property market and fintech regulations, and in banning cryptocurrencies.

He comes to the post with the task of wrestling with a downturn in the property sector – which accounts for about a quarter of economic activity in China – and a mountain of local government debt also pose major challenges for the banking sector and the broader economy.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met Pan during her trip with Beijing this month, referring to him as the head of the PBOC.

While Pan will serve both as Communist party head at the PBOC and central bank governor, the central bank now reports into new regulators as China has taken steps this year to tighten party control over the financial system, including plans for a Central Financial Commission to oversee the PBOC and other institutions.

The new structure dampens expectations Pan might champion pro-market reforms as his two predecessors did.

China removed Yi Gang from the central bank governor post, state media said. – Reuters

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