An independent study is predicting better-than-expected growth for Hong Kong this year and next, despite a wider economic cooling across the Asia-Pacific region. Hong Kong could expect to finish the year with a 6.3 per cent growth in real gross domestic product, according to the Pacific Economic Co-operation Council's State of the Region report. It predicted the economy would slow next year, reaching growth of 5.1 per cent. The council's predictions were prepared by a panel of regional economists. The panel included Alan Siu of the University of Hong Kong. Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said last week the economy would easily achieve 5 per cent real growth this year, adding that it would be healthier if it was slightly lower to avoid inflationary pressure. The government has yet to issue a prediction for next year. Over recent weeks, several private-sector economists have predicted Hong Kong's growth will reach at least 6 per cent, given strong mainland figures and encouraging consumer activity. Report co-ordinator, Canadian academic Woo Yuen-pau, said the wider slowdown had been anticipated, adding that overall regional growth remained healthy, driven by China and Japan. The report forecasts real GDP growth of 4.3 per cent across Asian-Pacific economies, including the US, next year, down from 5 per cent this year. The slowdown would be led by the impact of higher oil prices and interest rate rises in the US over the past two years. The report predicts China's GDP growth to reach 10.5 per cent this year, easing to 10 per cent next year. 'China will provide an important source of alternate demand for the region,' Mr Woo said. Both figures sit at the upper edge of the central government's estimates. Robust private consumption would push the Japanese economy towards 2.7 per cent GDP growth next year.