China appoints US-trained economist head of central bank

Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor of the People's Bank of China, attends a news conference on the sidelines of China's National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, in this March 9, 2018 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 March 2018
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China appoints US-trained economist head of central bank

BEIJING: China’s leadership has appointed a US-trained economist to succeed the longtime governor of its central bank, Zhou Xiaochuan, at a time when the ruling Communist Party is trying to reduce financial risks and surging debt.
The ceremonial Chinese legislature on Monday approved the appointment of Yi Gang, a veteran deputy central banker, to lead the People’s Bank of China.
Yi, 60, received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and taught at Indiana University.
His predecessor, Zhou, has been central bank governor for 15 years and is the most prominent Chinese figure in global financial circles.
Zhou warned in October that rising debt could have a “severe impact” on the economy but said last week regulators believed they had debt under control.


First Abu Dhabi Bank to start commercial banking in Saudi Arabia this year

Updated 34 min 54 sec ago
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First Abu Dhabi Bank to start commercial banking in Saudi Arabia this year

  • FAB is the latest foreign bank attracted by openings in Saudi Arabia
  • It had already completed its first debt capital markets transaction in the kingdom through its investment banking business

DUBAI: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the largest lender in the UAE by assets, said on Monday it will launch commercial banking operations in Saudi Arabia by the end of this year.
The bank, which was granted a commercial banking license in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, has been expanding its staff in the kingdom as it seeks to benefit from the government’s drive to move the economy beyond oil revenues.
It appointed Abdullah Abubakr as head of private banking in Saudi Arabia as of this month, according to his LinkedIn page.
FAB did not respond to a request for comment on his appointment.
FAB is the latest foreign bank attracted by openings in Saudi Arabia. The bank said it had already completed its first debt capital markets transaction in the kingdom through its investment banking business. In February, it was granted a license to conduct arranging and advising activities in the securities business. The bank also on Monday reported a 16 percent rise in third quarter net profit as net interest income and fees and commissions edged higher.
FAB made a net profit of 3.02 billion dirhams ($822 million) in the three months ending Sept. 30, up from 2.61 billion dirhams in the prior-year period, it said in a statement. SICO Bahrain had forecast FAB’s quarterly profit at 2.87 billion dirhams.
FAB’s performance was helped by lower net impairment charges during the quarter, with impairments falling 23 percent to 435 million dirhams. Loans and advances rose to 354 billion dirhams as of Sept. 30, up 8 percent from the same period of last year. Deposits totaled 455 billion dirhams, up 20 percent from a year earlier.