China unexpectedly taps central bank chief, finance minister to stay on

BEIJING: China’s central bank governor and finance minister were nominated on Sunday (Mar 12) to retain their posts, an unexpected move at the annual session of parliament that had been expected to replace them in the key posts.

Premier Li Qiang nominated Yi Gang, 65, to remain governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and Liu Kun, 66, to stay on as finance minister.

President Xi Jinping opted for a measure of continuity in key economic policymaking posts after installing close confidant Li as premier, to replace the retiring Li Keqiang.

Yi, appointed as PBOC governor in 2018, had widely been expected to retire after being left off the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee during the party’s once-in-five-years congress in October.

Sources had said Zhu Hexin was likely to succeed the US-educated Yi as head of the central bank.

As expected, Wang Wentao was nominated to stay on as minister of commerce.

Zheng Shanjie, governor and deputy party secretary of Zhejiang province, was nominated to take over as head of the National Development and Reform Commission, the powerful state planner.

Premier Li on Sunday also nominated Ding Xuexiang, Zhang Guoqing, Liu Guozhong and He Lifeng as vice premiers.

China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, will vote to approve the nominations on Sunday. 

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