Portugal's economy shrank by 0.7% in the first quarter of 2014 for the first time in a year, official data showed today marking a sharp setback two days before the country is due to exit its bailout programme. 

Compared to the first quarter of last year, Portugal's gross domestic product grew 1.2%, according to preliminary estimates released by the National Statistics Institute (INE). 

Portugal will on Saturday become the second euro zone member to emerge from European Union-IMF assistance after Ireland.

But this comes at the price of deeply unpopular budget-slimming prescriptions imposed on debt-struck nations on the periphery of the single currency zone.

Today's data comes after official figures raised fresh concerns about the strength of the euro zone's recovery. 

Eurostat said the euro zone grew 0.2% in the three months to March, short of analyst forecasts for 0.4%. Euro zone laggard Greece saw its economic output shrink by 1.1% compared to a year ago.