China Signals Steady Economic Policy as Liu Keeps Party Role

Updated on
  • Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser remains on central committee
  • PBOC Deputy Governor Yi Gang was named as an alternate member

China re-named Liu He, one of President Xi Jinping’s closest financial and economic advisers, to the Communist Party’s Central Committee, a signal the country’s leaders aren’t looking to make significant changes to economic policy as they begin a new five-year term.

Liu is a longtime member of Xi’s inner circle and has played a key role in shaping policy, mostly behind the scenes, as director of the Communist Party’s general office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs. Liu also is vice chairman of the National Development & Reform Commission, the government’s top economic planning body.

The 204 full members of the Central Committee, a body including government leaders, People’s Liberation Army generals, and heads of major state-owned enterprises, were reported Tuesday by the official Xinhua News Agency.

"Liu He remaining on the Central Committee reflects Xi’s reliance on him for economic reforms," said Iris Pang, an economist for Greater China at ING Groep NV in Hong Kong.

The new committee roster released today at the close of the 19th Party Congress in Beijing didn’t give guidance on who may succeed People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan. He recently dropped heavy hints that he’s set for retirement.

Among potential successors, Jiang Chaoliang, the current party chief of Hubei province, and China Securities Regulatory Commission Chairman Liu Shiyu, were named to the Central Committee. China Banking Regulatory Commission Chairman Guo Shuqing remained on the panel. PBOC Deputy Governor Yi Gang was named as an alternate member to the committee.

Jiang’s joining "raises the probability" he could replace Zhou, according to Evan Medeiros, Asia managing director at the Eurasia Group and former senior director for Asian affairs at the White House National Security Council. Guo "is still in the game" and a leading contender along with Jiang, he wrote in a report.

— With assistance by Xiaoqing Pi, Miao Han, and Kevin Hamlin

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