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Why Investors Can't Afford to Ignore China's Central Bank

  • People’s Bank of China influence is spreading around the world
  • Fed still dominates but investors increasingly follow PBOC too
Alan Greenspan, left, and Zhou Xiaochuan, center, talk with Malcolm Knight, then general manager of BIS, in 2003.
Alan Greenspan, left, and Zhou Xiaochuan, center, talk with Malcolm Knight, then general manager of BIS, in 2003.Photographer: Charles Crowell/Bloomberg
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When Zhou Xiaochuan hands over the reins of the People’s Bank of China after 15 years in control, his successor will take charge of a central bank with unprecedented global influence.

The economy’s size has ballooned from $1.5 trillion in 2002 when he started -- back when Alan Greenspan was leading the Federal Reserve -- to about $12 trillion today. China is estimated to have contributed more than a third of global growth last year, according to the International Monetary Fund. The nation surpassed the U.S. as the world’s biggest oil importer last year, buying about 8.43 million barrels a day. It’s also the world’s biggest trading nation with total trade of $3.82 trillion in 2016, ahead of $3.58 trillion for the U.S.