Greece's economy contracted in the last three months of 2015 but by less than expected, flash estimates by Eurostat showed today.

Fiscal austerity and capital controls continued to weigh on investment, exports and consumer spending in the country. 

The 0.6% decline in gross domestic product from October to December compared to the previous quarter, based on seasonally adjusted data. 

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.9% contraction quarter-on-quarter. 

A previously reported 0.9% contraction in the third quarter was downwardly revised to -1.4%.

Analysts said that the data point to a full-year real GDP contraction of 0.7%, slightly worse than this year's budget forecast of zero percent but better than what was expected by the EU Commission a few months earlier. 

Reforming Greece's ailing pension system is a prerequisite for the conclusion of a bailout review, which is expected to open the way for debt relief talks, but the government is facing protests from farmers and other groups of workers. 

Greek riot police clashed with farmers in central Athens today ahead of a major planned demonstration against the pension reform. 

Today's data also showed Greece's €173 billion economy shrank by 1.9% on an annual basis in the fourth quarter, a rate unchanged from the third quarter. 

Economists had been expecting a year-on-year contraction of 1.5% in the last quarter of 2015.