China central bank head to spur reforms through tough waters
Zhou, who took control of the People's Bank of China in 2002, is the architect of broad financial reforms that have spawned fledgling capital markets, liberalised some interest rates and broken the peg between China's yuan and the U.S. dollar - a step along the path to turning it into a global currency on a par with the greenback.
But formidable challenges lie ahead as the country has entered a stage where big changes face push-back risks from vested interests, especially from state giants in key sectors.
"The reform task for Zhou will be very arduous and it may not even be completed during his tenure," said Xu Hongcai, senior economist at China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, a top government think-tank in Beijing.
His tenure was given an unorthodox extension on Saturday by China's newly installed political chiefs - headed by President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang - in what is seen as a bid to burnish the pro-reform credentials of the new Communist leaders.
Zhou, 65, is at the mandatory retirement age for cabinet-ranked officials, such as central bank governor. But his election as a deputy chairman of parliament's top advisory body on March 11 gave him "national leader" status and cleared the way for Zhou to stay on
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