December 27, 2016 / 9:01 AM / in 3 years

China's cabinet names Harvard graduate as central bank vice governor

BEIJING (Reuters) - China appointed Yin Yong, a Harvard-educated official, on Tuesday as a vice governor of the People’s Bank of China, replacing Guo Qingping.

The State Council announced the promotion of Yin, who has been an assistant governor at the central bank since August 2015, on its website.

Yin holds a PhD in engineering from Tsinghua University and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University.

He had previously worked for the State Administration of Foreign Exchange - the foreign exchange regulator, and an arm of the central bank, responsible for managing the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

His predecessor Guo became vice central governor in February 2015, and had been responsible for anti-money laundering operations.

Though no reason was given for his departure, Guo turned 60 this year - the normal retirement age for officials of his rank.

Analysts saw no connection between Yin's promotion and the central bank's bid to support the weakening yuan CNY=CFXS while trying to preserve its foreign exchange reserves.

“The market may speculate about it, given rapid falls in foreign exchange reserves, but I don’t think adding or removing one person will help resolve the problems,” said an analyst at a Chinese bank who declined to be named.

China’s foreign exchange reserves fell far more than expected in November to the lowest level in nearly six years, as authorities struggled to stem capital outflows and shore up the sliding yuan in the face of the relentlessly rising dollar.

Central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan has been promoting a number of influential scholars to senior positions to beef up the central bank’s management.

Yi Gang, a renowned economist who has a PhD from the University of Illinois, is one of the central bank’s five vice governors.

The cabinet said on Tuesday it had appointed Liu Guoqiang as an assistant governor at the central bank, replacing Yang Ziqiang.

No reasons were given for Yang’s removal, but the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the ruling Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog, said in September Yang had violated rules by using public funds to cover some costs incurred during a private trip.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Richard Borsuk

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