Victor Shih

Retiring central banker Zhou Xiaochuan called this week for the liberalization of China’s currency, the Yuan. But conservative forces might find this step from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) a step too far, says financial expert Victor Shih to Bloomberg.


While it’s widely expected that Zhou will retire, there are no guarantees as China’s political appointments are often unpredictable. The PBOC chief bucked expectations he would leave back when he was 65. Instead he was promoted, taking on the title of vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, where the retirement age typically is 70. Zhou turns 70 in January.

“It seems there is a concerted push from within the PBOC to liberalize the capital account and exchange rate a bit while the yuan is relatively strong,” said Victor Shih, a professor at the University of California in San Diego who studies China’s politics and finance. “The conservative views of the higher leadership may stand in the way of significant progress.”

More in Bloomberg.

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