June 15, 2018 / 3:26 AM / 4 days ago

China reshuffles central bank monetary policy committee, Governor Yi named chief

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has reshuffled its central bank monetary policy committee, naming three new academic members and making Governor Yi Gang the panel’s chief, the cabinet said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: China's Central Bank Governor Yi Gang arrives at IMFC plenary during the IMF/World Bank spring meeting in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Yi replaces his predecessor Zhou Xiaochuan, who stepped down in March as governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) after 15 years.

It was not clear what impact, if any, the committee changes might have on monetary policy. The changes come as China’s economy is starting to show signs of cooling under the weight of a multi-year crackdown on riskier lending.

China’s top financial regulators also sit on the 14-member policy panel, which meets once every quarter to discuss economic and policy issues. The committee can recommend changes or action when necessary, but its influence is limited.

The new academic members are government economist Liu Shijin, Renmin University President Liu Wei, and Ma Jun, former chief economist at the central bank who’s now a professor at Tsinghua University.

Ma, who had work stints with the International Monetary Fund and Deutsche Bank, helped promote yuan internationalization when at the PBOC.

The new academic members replaced influential Chinese economists Fan Gang, Huang Yiping and Bai Chongen.

Other new committee members include Liu Wei, a vice finance minister and Chen Yulu, a vice central bank governor.

In recent years, the PBOC has gained more policy influence, even though it still lacks the independence of institutions such as the U.S. Federal Reserve and needs cabinet approval to change interest rates or the value of the yuan.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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