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Jordan appoints new central bank governor

Sharaf's last post was CEO and chairman of the investment arm of the government's multi-billion dollar pension fund.

November 26, 2010 2:05 by

Jordan’s cabinet appointed Faris Sharaf as Governor of the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) to replace Ummaya Toukan, officials said on Friday.

Sharaf’s last post was CEO and chairman of the investment arm of the government’s multi-billion dollar pension fund and he was widely tipped to replace Toukan, who completed two five-year terms in a row as governor.

As vice governor and deputy governor of the Central Bank of Jordan from 2003 until March 2008, Sharaf played a key role in strengthening bank regulation and supervision credited with improving the health of the banking system.

Sharaf has held several senior posts in the banking and financial industry, including a stint in a private equity Dubai based firm and in the World Bank’s investment arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Sharaf will begin his five-year term at a time Jordan is facing its worst contraction since an economic crisis in 1989 — when the aid dependent kingdom was forced to seek help from the IMF — and is struggling to trim a record $2 billion deficit.

CBJ authorities have since late 2008 used successive rate cuts to prod banks to extend cheaper credit and spur growth.

Officials say a main plank of monetary policy will remain the defence of the dinar, which is pegged to the dollar, a policy which the authorities say has served the national economy well.

(Writing by Suleiman al-Khalidi; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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