SPAIN’S economy expanded 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, less than initially estimated, figures released this morning show.

The expansion is 0.1 percentage points below an earlier estimate released by Madrid’s National Statistics Institute in January.

Government expenditure declined 3.9% in the final three months of 2013 from the previous quarter, while private consumption rose 0.5% and exports were up 0.8%.

The news follows the prime minister’s annual state of the nation speech on Tuesday, during which he pledged to cut taxes and make it easier for employers to hire new staff. This, he said, would go some way to easing the cripplingly high unemployment rate.

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