Asia's economies could recover rapidly next year from their slump once the rest of the world claws out of recession, the head of the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday. "Once the world economy regains its footing a rapid recovery is possible," Dominique Strauss-Kahn said, predicting Asian economic growth of more than 5.0 percent in 2010, almost twice the pace expected in 2009. Asian countries cannot begin to recover until the rest of the global economy escapes from the current "major downturn" because they rely heavily on exports, the IMF chief said, speaking to an online briefing from Washington. Asia was likely to post economic growth of 2.7 percent this year, with the region's developing countries seen expanding 5.5 percent, Strauss-Kahn said. "But it's very uncertain and a worse outcome cannot be ruled out," he said. Once the US and European economies start to rebound, however, some Asian economies "may recover very fast," he added.