Zhou will step down as PBOC chief, report says

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 4:37am

Mainland central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan will step down from his position next month, the China Securities Journal reported, without citing anyone.

The article, part of a profile on Saturday of Zhou, may be the first time an official media organisation has reported on the timing of his departure from the People's Bank of China. The newspaper is published by Xinhua.

The report adds to signs that Zhou, 65, whose decade of service makes him the longest-tenured PBOC chief, will leave his post soon. The ruling Communist Party omitted him from its revamped central committee list in November and he was listed on Saturday as a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The PBOC news office did not immediately respond to questions about how much longer Zhou would serve. Under mainland law, the central bank governor must be named by the premier and endorsed by the National People's Congress.

The report includes several unattributed anecdotes about Zhou. In one story, Zhou played tennis with Lawrence Summers, then the top economic adviser to US President Barack Obama, in Beijing in late 2010 and "joked" that the winner of the game would dictate exchange rate policies between the two countries. Summers lost, the paper said.

Zhou oversaw an overhaul of the country's exchange rate system in July 2005 that paved the way for the yuan to appreciate. He also loosened controls over the use of the yuan for international trade and investment purposes and gave banks more freedom to set lending and deposit rates.

Potential successors included Shang Fulin, the nation's banking regulator, and Guo Shuqing, head of the securities regulator, David Loevinger, former senior co-ordinator for China affairs at the US Department of the Treasury, said last year.