Taiwan will appoint central bank governor Perng Fai-Nan for a fourth five-year term, suggesting a continuation of currency-stabilizing policies at a time when closer trade and investment ties with China are being built.
Perng, 74, will stay on as governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) beyond the Feb. 25 deadline, when his term is scheduled to end, Fan-Chiang Tai-chi, a spokesman of the presidential office said today.
The re-appointment comes as President Ma Ying-jeou acts to strengthen an economy that grew in 2012 at the slowest pace since the 2009 global recession. Perng, who enjoys bipartisan support, has led the island’s monetary authority since Feb. 1998 after his predecessor died in an airplane crash.
“He has an incredible record of pre-empting crisis and reassuring the markets,” Wai Ho Leong, a Singapore-based economist at Barclays Plc, said before the announcement. “He’s had a very good record of managing inflation and using monetary policy to that effect. He’s done an excellent job of managing the growth-inflation trade-off and has maintained systemic stability. He’s also very well-regarded internationally.”
The re-appointment may help allay concerns about the island’s currency. Policy makers warned on Jan. 29 they would step into the foreign-exchange market after the Taiwan dollar reached a four-year high against the yen on Jan. 28, hurting exporters. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. chairman Morris Chang said at a forum Jan. 11 that the government should let the Taiwan dollar depreciate further to aid competitiveness.
Perng has held interest rates steady for six straight meetings since June 2011 as the export-dependent economy struggled with weakening demand for its electronic goods. Gross domestic product rose 3.42 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, compared with a 0.98 percent pace in the previous three-month period, a report showed on Jan. 31.
Perng, who holds a Ph.D. in law from the University of Minnesota, told lawmakers in December the governor’s position “will be my last public job.” He is the longest-serving central bank governor in Asia among economies tracked by Bloomberg. Malaysia’s Zeti Akhtar Aziz, who took charge in May 2000, comes next.
Perng and Zeti, alongside Amando Tetangco of the Philippines, Glenn Stevens of Australia and Israel’s Stanley Fischer, received an ‘A’ grade in Global Finance magazine’s annual ranking of the world’s central bankers last year. They were rated higher than Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the European Central Bank’s Mario Draghi.
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