China’s legislature on Monday nominated Yi Gang, vice-governor of the People’s Bank of China, as its new chief.
Yi will replace Zhou Xiaochuan, who has been at the helm of the PBoC for 15 years. Zhou has headed the central bank during the turbulent period of the global financial crisis.
At the annual session of the 13th National People’s Congress, delegates voted to appoint Yi as PBoC governor.
He received Ph.D in Economics from University of Illinois before joining as assistant professor at the Indiana University.
Yi joined People’s Bank in 1997. He also served as the director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange from 2009 to 2016.
The most important task is to implement prudent monetary policy and push forward the reform and opening-up of the financial sector, Yi told reporters in Beijing.
The PBoC’s lack of independence will constrain Yi’s ability to set the direction of policy, Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics, said.
The question of whether to stay the course on deleveraging or give in and loosen policy to support growth will be answered by politicians with more influence than Yi, such as Liu He and Wang Qishan, as well as President Xi himself, Evans-Pritchard noted.
Given that Zhou, despite his best efforts and greater independence, failed to avert an unsustainable surge in debt levels, the economist suspects that Yi will also struggle to push back against poor policy choices dictated from above.