The International Monetary Fund's Asia-Pacific chief Hubert Neiss says there is scope for the IMF to upgrade its economic forecasts for some East Asian countries this year, but warned against complacency on reforms. Mr Neiss told Business Post he disagreed with IMF country representative John Dodsworth's surprisingly gloomy outlook for South Korea and said he personally thought the country could well exceed the aid agency's 2 per cent economic growth forecast for this year. 'I expect an upgrade. It may be twice as high, but at this stage no-one really knows,' said Mr Neiss, speaking on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank's annual governors meeting. Mr Neiss also thought there was potential for the IMF to upgrade its 1 per cent growth forecast for Thailand this year. He also saw the imminent start of a Hong Kong recovery. 'We do not expect a big recovery in Hong Kong but we do see a gradual recovery starting in the latter stages this year,' he said. However, Mr Neiss warned this might come too late to avert another year of recession in the SAR for the year as a whole, although it may only be slight. The IMF is projecting negative growth of 1.3 per cent year, and a rebound to plus 3.1 per cent next year. Mr Neiss said: 'I think the Hong Kong Government has reacted adequately to the situation. It did good to relax its fiscal stance and it was blessed with a well-managed financial sector going into the crisis. 'We expect a bottoming out of the real-estate market.' Mr Neiss did not think soaring regional stock markets had recently overshot. Some benchmark indices have doubled since September as investors buy into the prospects of an economic rebound. 'I don't think they are too high,' Mr Neiss said. 'But that is under the assumption there is no relaxation in policies.'