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Carney’s report card would make a mother proud

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada, holds press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 18, 2012.

SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney may have some perplexing views on corporate spending and the power of central banks to prevent another financial crisis, but he remains one of the world's most respected central bankers.

Mr. Carney is one of only half a dozen central bank chiefs to get a top rating of A in the annual report card compiled by Global Finance magazine. Conspicuously absent from the top ranks are the Fed's Ben Bernanke, the Bank of England's Mervyn King and the European Central Bank's Mario Draghi.

The magazine evaluates the performance of 50 central bankers in such key mandates as inflation, economic growth, currency stability and interest-rate management. But it also looks at more subjective parts of their job, such as their ability to stand up to political pressures and their influence – or lack of it – on government spending and foreign investment policies.

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"During one of the toughest years on record, the world's central bankers were tested as never before," said Global Finance publisher Joseph Giarraputo.

Some of them fared better than others in the test.

Joining Mr. Carney in the A-rated group are Australia's Glenn Stevens, Israel's oft-praised Stanley Fischer, Zeti Akhtar Aziz of Malaysia, Amando Tetangco Jr. of the Philippines and Taiwan's Fai-Nan Perng, who has ranked at the top of the heap for nine of his 14 years at the helm.

Mr. Carney got a grade of B+ a year ago, while the other five all scored top marks. Lebanon's Riad Salameh, lauded in the past for keeping the currency stable and safeguarding the country's embattled financial system, saw his A grade slashed to a C. That can happen when you're busy fending off U.S. accusations that Lebanese officials have failed to police money-laundering and terrorism-funding.

Mr. Bernanke received a B, a marked improvement over his C the year before. Sir Mervyn slipped to a B– from B and Mr. Draghi received a B– for his first year as ECB chief. China's Zhou Xiaochuan also got a B-. Japan's Masaaki Shirakawa brought home an embarrassing C-, down from C.

And at the bottom sits Argentina's Mercedes Marco del Pont with a D, the same grade as a year ago. Ms. Marco del Pont got the job in 2010 thanks to her close government ties, after the former head was ousted over his refusal to allow his political masters to dip into bank reserves to pay down debt. Other potential candidates wanted nothing to do with the job after that messy split.

The complete list is available at: http://www.gfmag.com.

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About the Author
Senior Economics Writer and Global Markets Columnist

Brian Milner is a senior economics writer and global markets columnist. In a long career at The Globe and Mail, he has covered diverse business beats, including international trade, the automotive industry, media, debt markets, banking and the business side of sports. More

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