Spain's National Statistics Office said the country's economy shrank a worse than expected 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the previous three-month period.

The outcome reflected the country's deepening recession.

The figure released today was higher than last week's preliminary estimate from the Bank of Spain of a 0.6% contraction.

Spain's economy has been shrinking for the last 18 months with unemployment at 26%.

The statistics department said economic activity was down 1.8% in the fourth quarter from the same time in 2011. For the whole of 2012, it shrank 1.4%. Spain's economy had contracted by 0.3% in the third quarter.

Europe's main statistics office Eurostat unveils its estimate for the remaining 16 European Union countries that use the euro and the wider 27-country EU on February 14.