Two and half years ago when China's Premier Li Keqiang was visiting Kenya, he told journalists that the excessive amount of foreign exchange reserves "has become a very big burden" for Beijing because they distorted the country's domestic monetary policy.
At that time, China had witnessed an almost unstoppable rise in the level of its foreign exchange reserves for more than a decade; it seemed that a big stockpile of foreign exchange would continue to increase to haunt Beijing.
Few anticipated that China's reserves would hit an all-time peak the month after Li's comments – and even fewer would have expected that Beijing needed to worry about a fall in those same reserves so soon.
Analysts said an important consideration behind the Chinese government's decision to impose more vigilant checks on outbound investment deals was to safeguard Beijing's foreign exchange reserves after the world's largest stockpile of foreign exchange fell by $837 billion from its $3.99 trillion peak at the end of June 2014. China's foreign exchange reserves at the end of October stood at $3.12 trillion.
"As China's foreign exchange reserves fall, there's a visible shift in policy to defend the reserves," said Wang Youxin, a researcher at Bank of China.
"The government doesn't want to see the reserves shrinking too quickly, and it's a big change from the days when the reserves were seen as more than enough."