The euro zone's economy is likely to contract slightly or at best stagnate in the fourth quarter, ECB's vice president Luis de Guindos said on Tuesday.

"We have seen a quarterly rate of -0.1% (in the third quarter), I wouldn't read too much into it either, +0.1% or -0.1%, but it's pretty much a stagnant situation, we think it's going to continue in the fourth quarter," De Guindos said at an event in Madrid.

Euro zone economic growth was weaker than expected in the third quarter, as a flash estimate showed last month gross domestic product fell 0.1% compared to the previous quarter and the year-on-year growth rate slowing sharply.

Early data from the fourth quarter final Composite Purchasing Managers' Index ( PMI) for October released by S&P Global indicated the bloc entered the last quarter of 2023 on the back foot with the indicator at its lowest level since late 2020.

At its meeting on Oct. 26 , the ECB left interest rates unchanged, ending an unprecedented streak of 10 consecutive rate hikes.

De Guindos said that given the current high uncertainty the institution would continue to follow a data-dependent approach regarding its future monetary policy. (Reporting by Jesus Aguado, editing by Inti Landauro and Ed Osmond)