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Taiwan Government Hasn’t Decided on Perng’s Term at Central Bank

Taiwan hasn’t decided whether to extend the term of central bank governor Perng Fai-Nan, the government said, after local newspapers reported he may be retained.

No decision has yet been made about whether Perng will continue as governor or step down when his current term expires on Feb. 25, Cabinet spokesman Cheng Li-wun said today. Chances that Perng will be replaced are not high, Taipei-based Commercial Times reported today, citing an unidentified person.

While the Liberty Times newspaper said today lawmakers across party lines support another term for Perng, the governor told lawmakers on Dec. 12 he plans to leave when his term ends, without specifying a date. The central bank is due to meet on Dec. 19 as policy makers brace for slower growth in China that has hurt the island’s exports.

“Perng is one of the most respected central bank governors in Asia,” said Tetsuo Yoshikoshi, a Singapore-based senior economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. “The government trusts him, relies on his capability,” he said, adding that there is no reason for him to be replaced.

Perng, who has led the central bank since Feb. 1998 after his predecessor died in an airplane crash, told lawmakers this month that “the governor position will be my last public job.”

The governor serves five-year terms that can be renewed, according to Taiwan’s central bank law. Nominees are proposed by the cabinet and appointed by the president, a process that in the past has been completed by January-end, said the Commercial Times newspaper, which didn’t name potential candidates.

The speculation comes as President Ma Ying-jeou acts to bolster an economy grappling with falling exports and slower growth. Ma’s approval rating is at a record-low 13 percent, according to a November poll by Taiwan cable news network TVBS.

Longest Serving

Perng is the longest-serving central bank governor in Asia among the economies tracked by Bloomberg, coming ahead of Malaysia’s Zeti Akhtar Aziz, who took charge in May 2000.

Both governors, 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 this year. They were placed higher than Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the European Central Bank’s Mario Draghi.

Taiwan’s central bank will hold its benchmark rate at 1.875 percent for a sixth meeting on Dec. 19, according to all 13 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

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