19th Party Congress: China signals economic policy continuity as Liu He keeps party role

Liu He, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, attends a signing ceremony between China and Vietnam at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, on May 11, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - China re-named Liu He, one of President Xi Jinping's closest financial and economic advisers, to the Communist Party's Central Committee, a signal the country's leaders aren't looking to make significant changes to economic policy as they begin a new five-year term.

Liu is a longtime member of Xi's inner circle and has played a key role in government, mostly behind the scenes, as director of the Communist Party's general office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs.

Liu also is vice chairman of the National Development & Reform Commission, the government's top economic planning body.

The 204 full members of the Central Committee, a body that includes government leaders, People's Liberation Army generals, and heads of major state-owned enterprises, were reported Tuesday by the official Xinhua news agency.

"Liu He remaining on the Central Committee reflects Xi's reliance on him for economic reforms," said Iris Pang, an economist for Greater
China at ING Groep NV in Hong Kong.

The new committee roster released today at the close of the 19th Party Congress in Beijing didn't give guidance on who may succeed People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan. He recently dropped heavy hints that he's ready to for retirement.

Among potential successors, Jiang Chaoliang, the current party chief of Hubei province, and China Securities Regulatory Commission Chairman Liu Shiyu, were named to the Central Committee.

China Banking Regulatory Commission Chairman Guo Shuqing remained on the panel. PBOC Deputy Governor Yi Gang was named as an alternate member to the committee.

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