The Greek economy is slipping deeper into recession, amidst waves of unrest over a new round of austerity measures passed by the Athens parliament.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Greece’s GDP shrank by 7 percent compared to the year-ago period, according to government figures. The country’s economy contracted by 5 percent in the third quarter, suggesting that the deterioration is accelerating.

In addition, GDP dropped by 6 percent for 2011 as a whole, the fifth consecutive year of economic decline.

The Greek government initially expected the economy to shrink by 5.5 percent last year.

In line with our expectations, the pace of contraction accelerated in the fourth quarter as a result of fiscal austerity measures, depressed consumer and business confidence and lingering uncertainty over the sovereign debt crisis, said EFG Eurobank economist Platon Monokroussos, according to Reuters,

Interestingly, despite the ever-worsening economic news in the country, the government was able to sell about 1.3-billion euros in Treasury bills on Tuesday

Total bids reached 2.701 billion euros and the amount finally accepted was 1.3 billion Euros, the debt management agency covering the bond offering said.

Despite the successful bond auction, Monokroussos added: The recession will continue this year. All in all, a return to positive growth appears unlikely before the second half of 2013.

Meanwhile, the Greek government is under extreme pressure to cut another 325-million euros from the budget (among other measures), under mandate from the European Union in exchange for the second bailout.

Euro zone finance ministers are preparing to examine the Athens parliaments recently approved austerity package – which calls for a total of 3.3 billion euros in wage, pension and job cuts.