China retains central bank chief

China retains central bank chief

China retains central bank chief

China retained its central bank chief on Feb. 12 in a surprise move, as the country appointed a cabinet focused on fighting economic headwinds.

Yi Gang was confirmed as governor of the People’s Bank of China at a meeting of China’s rubber-stamp national legislature, against expectations that retirement-age Yi would step down.

Two top economic officials, commerce minister Wang Wentao and finance minister Liu Kun, were also retained, as well as National Health Commission director Ma Xiaowei, who oversaw China’s zero-COVID policy.

The cabinet faces the task of revitalizing the Chinese economy, which last year expanded just 3 percent, one of its weakest performances in decades.

General Li Shangfu, who was sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2018 for buying Russian weapons, was named defense minister.

China has set a growth target of “around 5 percent” for 2023, one of the lowest in decades, as the world’s second-largest economy widely missed its growth target in the face of strict COVID curbs and a simmering property crisis.

The national legislature this week approved a broad restructuring of government departments, aimed at boosting self-reliance in manufacturing.