Chinese Economy Can Avoid Post-Games Slump


China's economy will avoid a post-Olympics recession, thanks to its vast size, rising consumer spending and big appetite for investment, one of the country's top economic advisers told a state newspaper.

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Justin Lin Yifu, the Peking University professor recently appointed as the World Bank's chief economist, said the Chinese economy's sheer size dwarfed the cost of building stadiums and infrastructure for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"The difference in economic scale between China and other countries that have hosted the Olympic Games is just too large," Lin wrote in the overseas edition of the People's Daily on Wednesday.

"I'm sure that after the Olympics, China can maintain sustained rapid economic growth, and that this can be kept up for a considerable length of time."

China's economy, the world's fourth biggest, was 16 times the size of Greece's, which hosted the 2004 Games, and eight times the size of Australia's, which hosted the 2000 Games, Lin wrote.

Beijing is spending some $35-40 billion on improved infrastructure ahead of the Games in August, as well as $2.1 billion to cover the cost of running them.

That is more than previous Games cities spent. "But China's economy is so much larger than theirs, so relatively for China the investment is not much," Lin added.

China's ongoing need for huge injections of infrastructure investment and expanding consumer spending are also likely to ward off any post-Olympics slump, he said.

"There is a need for much fixed asset investment, and so we can be confident that China will not experience a post-Olympics recession."

Lin is the first economist from a developing country to take the top economics job at the World Bank. He will start on May 31.

Last month, he told Reuters that he expected China's economy to grow by around 10 percent this year, down from 11.4 percent in 2007.