Economic contraction in the euro area in the fourth quarter was more than initially estimated, official data revealed Tuesday.

Final data from the Eurostat showed that gross domestic product, or GDP, contracted 1.6% quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of 2008. The pace of decline was slightly up from the previously estimated fall of 1.5%. GDP fell 0.3% each in the third and second quarters.

The statistical office also revised fourth quarter annual GDP decline to 1.5% from an initial 1.3% fall.

In the fourth quarter, household final consumption expenditure fell 0.3% from the previous quarter, while government expenditure rose 0.4%. Gross fixed capital formation continued to decline for the third straight quarter with the fourth quarter marking a 4% fall.

The currency bloc's exports fell 6.7% in the fourth quarter after decreasing 0.2% in the third quarter. At the same time, imports dropped 4.7%, reversing a 1.3% rise in the prior quarter.

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