Chinese state media has confirmed the appointment of Pan Gongsheng as its new central bank chief.
Pan, who was nominated as the new governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) at the start of July, has been described by some as a hawkish and capable technocrat experienced in crisis management.
“Pan is known as a competent, skilled and outspoken technocrat, who is not going to hesitate to push policy proposals to the very top of China’s policy making apparatus during a crisis,” according to Andy Chen, an analyst for Trivium China.
Chen told the BBC the Chinese government appeared to have recognised it “doesn’t have a deep bench when it comes to well-trained financial technocrats”.
Tough stance on yuan speculators, crypto and more
Pan, 60, has headed China’s top foreign exchange regulator since 2016. State media said late on Tuesday that he will replace 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.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met Pan during her trip with Beijing this month, and referred 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 with additional reporting and editing by Jim Pollard