REUTERS: China appointed a new finance chief yesterday at a key time as investors’ concerns grow over the country’s mounting debt and rising fiscal deficits.
Xiao Jie, former tax chief and Minister of Finance Deputy Minister, was named Minister of Finance, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday. Xiao, 59, currently Deputy Secretary General of the State Council, replaces Lou Jiwei, who had served as Finance Minister since March 2013.
China also named Chen Wenqing as the new chief of the secretive Ministry of State Security, as well as a new head of civil affairs, at the closing of a regular session of the standing committee of China’s parliament.
Xinhua did not say why the ministers had stepped down but Lou is 65.
China’s overall debt has jumped to more than 250 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 150 percent at the end of 2006, the kind of surge that in other countries has resulted in a financial bust or sharp economic slowdown, analysts say.
China’s local governments are in the midst of refinancing trillions of yuan in debt as some face falling revenue and rising deficits.