Italy\'s national statistics institute Istat said on Thursday that the country was in its longest recession in the last 20 years, after it registered a negative growth for the sixth consecutive quarter in the last three months of 2012. Istat said that the country\'s gross domestic product (GDP) for the whole of last year was down 2.2 percent compared to the previous year, according to seasonally adjusted data. The GDP fell 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the previous three months and 2.7 percent with respect to the same period in 2011. The last time that Italy posted six consecutive quarters of negative growth was between 1992 and 1993, Istat added. Italy has been the most sluggish economy in the eurozone for more than a decade and was at the forefront of the debt crisis when caretaker premier Mario Monti took the helm of an emergency government of technocrats in November 2011. Though Monti\'s austerity measures have helped lower borrowing costs, international concerns were raised by analysts over the past weeks over the next government\'s ability to bring down huge public debt.