The decision by China's central bank to cut the amount of reserves held by banks is an indication that authorities in the world's second-largest economy are getting nervous about a long-drawn trade war with the U.S., experts said.
China insisted last month, in a 71-page paper, that its economy is "highly resilient" and Beijing is not afraid of a trade war.
At the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China in September, an official from the country's securities regulator said there was nothing President Donald Trump's administration could do to make a significant dent in the Chinese economy. Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said that the worst that could happen is the U.S. imposing levies on all Chinese imports, but that would only hit 0.7 percentage points of China's growth.
But the central bank's move to ease some pressure on the banking sector signals that the situation in China is perhaps not all rosy, experts noted.
"China is probably facing its worst period since the global financial crisis. All news is against it," Fraser Howie, an independent analyst who has written books about China and its financial system, told CNBC's "The Rundown" on Monday.
"They certainly want to play down any talks of panic or near panic ... but they're clear it's not business as usual in China," he added.