Chinese industrial production and retail sales data for November were mixed, exacerbating concerns about slowing growth amid the recent trend of below-view indicators.
Industrial production rose 7.2 percent on year in November, below expectations for a 7.5 percent increase in a Reuters poll and down from October's 7.7 percent rise. Meanwhile, retail sales rose 11.7 percent on year, above expectations for an 11.5 percent rise.
Fixed asset investment for the January-November period increased 15.8 percent, in line with expectations. Property investment increased 11.9 percent for the January-November period, slower than the 12.4 percent increased over the January-October period.
Friday's figures follow weaker-than-expected imports, exports and inflation figures earlier this week, adding to speculation that the Chinese central bank will undertake additional easing measures. In late November, the People's Bank of China cut interest rates for the first time in over two years to support the flagging economy as Beijing appears on course to miss the 7.5 percent growth target set earlier this year.
"The good old instrument of infrastructure investment is going to be there in 2015. On a monetary front, we will get one or two benchmark interest rate cuts. It is also very likely that we will get a reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cut to inject more liquidity into the system," Louis Kuijs, Chief economist at RBS, told CNBC after the data was released.
"What has been a disappointment to people but isn't exactly a surprise is that benchmark interest rates were cut. We didn't see a fall in interbank market rates, the relationship between the two are not very direct," he said. "The most obvious or high profile ways to lower those interbank rates is to inject more liquidity. An RRR cut will be the biggest [tool] you can use."
While Mizuho Bank anticipated weak readings on Friday's figures, it maintains its view "that growth in 2014 will be close to its growth target of 7.5 percent," it wrote in a note before the data was released.
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities reportedly told banks on Thursday to issue more loans in the final months of the year to help bolster growth.
"Everybody knows that we cannot have a repeat of what happened in the last 5-6 years. It's quite internalized that credit growth cannot rise too fast, and we have seen some of those, what people called 'innovative monetary policies,'" RBS's Kuijs said.
"These measures were in order to try to get a bigger bang on the buck on the monetary side," he said. "That's probably going to be the theme of next year. On one hand containing those risk but also try to get financing to companies."