Word is swirling about Beijing that top leaders are set to meet in the coming days to make leadership decisions, reshaping the country’s top economic policy team and financial regulators.
The full Central Committee meeting, according to a report from Bloomberg on Thursday, would approve personnel appointments and government restructuring decisions to be publicly announced when the national legislature convenes on March 5.
One leadership pick that is being closely watched is the replacement for central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan. He is set to retire soon, amid an ambitious restructuring of China’s system of financial oversight.
The frontrunner to take the reins of the People’s Bank of China is Guo Shuqing, the current chief of China’s banking regulator. But the People’s Bank of China does not have a final decision-making authority, and much attention is focused the position given top Xi Jinping advisor Liu He to oversee the economic problem-solving team.
Liu will continue to direct the Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs, akin to the US National Economic Council, and will also chair the newly established Financial Stability and Development Commission, according to sources cited by the South China Morning Post. The agency will have authority over all financial regulators, including those under the purview of the central bank, with an eye on tackling risks associated with excess corporate leverage, or “rhino risks.”
There is talk among some analysts, cited in the Bloomberg report, that Liu could even be tapped to simultaneously take the reins as chief of the central bank while also being elevated to the post of vice premier in charge of the economy. That would give him an economic-policy status not seen since Zhu Rongji had the same titles in the 1990s.
Zhu is credited as being instrumental in both the transformation of Shanghai into a modern financial center, as well as China’s national economic miracle of the past quarter century.