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William Pesek: What's on the agenda for China's next central bank chief

Next governor will face currency challenges and more in a dicey 2018

With China's widely respected central bank head retiring at any moment, Beijing is increasingly abuzz over who will replace Zhou Xiaochuan: a fellow-minded progressive to modernize the economy or a Communist Party lackey?

Zhou, China's most important change agent of the past 15 years, borders on irreplaceable at the People's Bank of China thanks to his visionary leadership and gravitas to speak truth to power. The good news is that the spotlight is on Guo Shuqing, a crusader in the Zhou mold at the China Banking Regulatory Commission. Naming Guo would signal that President Xi Jinping is intent on continuing Zhou's effort to clean up the banking system, root out financial excesses and keep Asia's biggest economy on the reform path.

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