MADRID, Spain - Spain's National Statistics Institute says the economy grew a smaller-than-expected 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared with the previous three-month period.

The figure released Thursday revised earlier predictions by the institute and the Bank of Spain that estimated the economy had grown by 0.3 per cent for the October-December period.

The institute confirmed that economic activity shrank 1.2 per cent for the whole of 2013.

Spain, which has a 26 per cent unemployment rate, emerged from recession in the third quarter of last year after nine quarters of economic decline.

The government maintains the country is on the mend thanks to its reforms and sacrifices endured by Spaniards since the economic crisis was triggered by the collapse of the key real estate sector in 2008.