PBOC Deputy Governor Pan Named Head of China Currency Regulator

  • SAFE says it will tackle violations of currency market rules
  • Regulator says China has ample foreign-exchange reserves

People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Pan Gongsheng will replace Yi Gang as head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, while also maintaining his post at the central bank, the currency regulator said in a statement.

Pan “recently” held his first meeting to review the regulator’s work in 2015 and outline goals for 2016, the statement said, adding that the regulator will proceed with plans to make the yuan convertible “in an orderly fashion” and will tackle “violations” of foreign-currency regulations.

China has "relatively abundant foreign-exchange reserves,” the regulator said. China’s foreign reserves fell for the first time last year since 1992, slumping $513 billion, or 13 percent, to $3.33 trillion as of Dec. 31, the PBOC said last week.

SAFE is China’s top currency regulator and operates under the State Council, or cabinet. A deputy central bank governor traditionally serves concurrently as the agency director. Pan replacing Yi doesn’t signal a big shift on the yuan, also known as the renminbi or RMB, Larry Hu, head of China economics at Macquarie Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong said after the appointment was initially reported by Caixin magazine in December.

SAFE’s function includes studying and proposing policies on the reform of the foreign exchange administration system, and the gradual advancement of yuan convertibility under the capital account, according to its website.

Yi is also a deputy governor at the central bank and will retain his post at the PBOC, the regulator said. The central bank, led by Governor Zhou Xiaochuan since 2002, has six deputy governors. 

Pan previously worked at the Agricultural Bank of China and before that held a number of positions at Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s largest lender, including general manager of financial planning and secretary of the board of directors, according to his PBOC biography. He earned a Ph.D in economics at Renmin University of China.

— With assistance by Keith Zhai

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