ROME, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Italian economy expanded 0.1 percent in the last three months of 2013 compared to the third quarter, the national statistics institute Istat said on Friday in preliminary estimates.
Italy's gross domestic product (GDP) slightly increased after nine months of negative or zero growth in the country's longest postwar recession that ended in the third quarter with flat GDP.
Last year the Italian economy contracted 1.9 percent, Istat added in the preliminary estimates.
Also on Friday, the Italian central bank said the country's public debt fell 36.5 billion euros (49.9 billion U.S. dollars) to 2.0675 trillion euros (2.8292 trillion dollars) from November to December. The Italian debt was the second largest in the eurozone after Greece's.
Last month, the spread between the yields for Italian government bonds and the benchmark Deutsche bunds from Germany, seen as a measure of the economic health, was below the psychologically important threshold of 200 points for the first time since 2011.
Head of the Italian Audit Court Raffaele Squitieri warned, however, there was still much work to be done to revive the country's recession-plagued economy.
"The signs of easing of financial tensions do not rule out the fact that much work remains to be done to revive the economy," he said at a conference on Friday.
Though the Italian economy was finally emerging from recession, the economic environment was "still difficult," Squitieri stressed.
He called for the country to enact economic and institutional reforms, and fight widespread tax evasion and corruption.
Almost 52 billion euros (71 billion U.S. dollars) of untaxed income that was not declared to tax authorities have been uncovered in Italy last year, which experts said highlighted a large underground economy.