Chinese central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan may lose his job, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, in a reshuffling that follows internal battles over economic reforms.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is considering replacing Zhou, the paper reported, quoting officials with knowledge of the plans.
In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said Mr. Zhou would not be stepping down soon.
The top contender to head the PBOC is Guo Shuqing, a former banker and securities regulator who is currently governor of eastern Shandong province, the paper said.
Xi wants more allies in top positions in the government, and military and Communist Party and personnel changes were expected around a major party meeting next month, the newspaper said. It added that no final decision had been made about the governor's job.
Zhou, who has led the central bank for the world's second-largest economy since 2002, has been the architect of broad financial reforms that have spawned fledgling capital markets, liberalized some interest rates and broken the peg between China's yuan and the U.S. dollar.
He was reappointed as the PBOC chief in March 2013, although he reached the normal retirement age of 65 for cabinet-ranked Chinese officials last year.
"We do not think a change in leadership at the central bank would suggest anything about a switch in the orientation of macro-economic or monetary policy," Nicholas Consonery, director for Asia at the Eurasia Group, said in a note.
"If anything the rumors circulating about sharp divisions over monetary policy more reflect the government's inability to manage its own message than about Zhou's retirement."
A trained engineer, Zhou has been known for close ties to Western officials, and has been the object of ire from conservatives within the Communist Party.
China is at risk of falling short of its 7.5 percent growth target for the year, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said Beijing would focus on "targeted" measures to spur growth and not a broad loosening of credit.
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