China forex regulator Pan Gongsheng named central bank party boss By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Vice Governor Pan Gongsheng speaks at a news conference in Beijing, China March 3, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo

(Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party appointed central bank Deputy Governor Pan Gongsheng as the bank’s party secretary on Saturday, a move the Wall Street Journal said would be a prelude to becoming governor.

The party’s Central Organization Department announced the decision at a meeting on Saturday afternoon, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said in a statement on its website.

The Journal reported hours earlier that Pan would be named to the party post before being appointed by the government to head the PBOC.

The PBOC did not respond to a Reuters fax seeking comment.

The appointment of Pan, who turns 60 this month, comes as expectations rise for the authorities to take steps to boost the world’s second-largest economy. A slowdown is deepening and spreading with the waning of a burst of activity following the lifting of strict COVID-19 controls.

The central bank said on Friday it would implement prudent monetary policy in a “precise and forceful manner” to support economic growth and employment.

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Pan has deep experience with Chinese banks and policy. He did post-doctoral research at Cambridge University and was a senior research fellow at Harvard University, and has been the deputy governor of the PBOC since 2012, according to the SAFE and PBOC websites.

The current governor, Yi Gang, has been widely expected to retire since being left off the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee during the party’s once-in-five-years congress in October.

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Communist Party has tightened its grip on the financial system, and the central bank has seen its regulatory power eroded in recent reshuffles and restructuring of institutions.

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