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Taiwan, S.Korea stocks rise on Nvidia results, Asian FX inches higher



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Taiwan stocks rise 1.1% to record high

Thai PM keeps pressing for rate cut

Singapore and Malaysia Jan CPI due on Friday

By Ayushman Ojha

Feb 22 (Reuters) -Equities in Taiwan and South Korea rose on Thursday as chip-related stocks jumped after U.S. chipmaker Nvidia's outlook beat expectations and currencies rose marginally higher with Federal Reserve minutes cementing bets the central bank will not cut rates soon.

Taiwan shares .TWII rose as much as 1.1% to hit a fresh all-time high, while stocks in South Korea .KS11 added as much as 0.7%.

Nvidia NVDA.O on Wednesday forecast a roughly threefold surge in quarterly revenue that handily beat estimates on towering demand for its industry-leading artificial intelligence chips.

Other stock markets were mixed, with Thailand stocks .SETI gaining as much as 0.5% and Malaysian shares .KLSE losing 0.5%.

Currencies in the region inched higher after being muted earlier in the session. The greenback was lower after minutes of the Fed's Jan. 30-31 meeting showed policymakers were concerned about the risks of cutting interest rates too soon.

The Malaysian ringgit MYR= was 0.2% higher, but was trading at lows not seen since the Asian Financial Crisis as outflows, foreign currency hoarding and a strong dollar piled on pressure.

It touched 4.801 to the dollar on Wednesday, its weakest since January 1998.

"Some of the drivers of ringgit weakness are temporary. We expect the USD to weaken once the Fed eventually cuts rates, providing respite for the ringgit," said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ.

In South Korea, the central bank left interest rates at a 15-year high as expected with inflation staying above the target level. Recent inflation prints in Asian economies have shown easing price trends, giving central banks some breathing room.

This comes a day after Indonesia's central bank also kept policy rates steady as expected, and reiterated it would likely have room to cut borrowing costs in the second half of the year.

Investors' focus, however, remained on the timing of policy easing in Southeast Asia.

Thailand's central bank is ready to adjust rates if the economy and inflation change significantly, minutes of its Feb. 7 policy meeting showed.

Its Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin, who has been at loggerheads with the central bank over the monetary policy direction, said he would continue pushing the central bank to cut rates and would meet its governor again to discuss the issue at an appropriate time.

China's recent policy decision to slash its five-year loan prime rate by 25bps can be one example for other central banks to reduce policy rates as domestic economic growth tends to slow, analysts at Maybank said.

South Korean won KRW=KFTC appreciated 0.5%, while Indonesian rupiah IDR= was up 0.2%.

Investors cautiously await January inflation data from Malaysia and Singapore, both due on Friday.


HIGHLIGHTS

** Nikkei parties like it's 1989; scales record high

** Indonesia 2023 current account deficit at 0.1% of GDP

** Thai PM plans visa-free travel, concerts to boost tourism


Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0740 GMT




COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY %

FX YTD %

INDEX

STOCKS DAILY %

STOCKS YTD %

Japan

JPY=

+0.12

-6.02

.N225

2.19

16.84

China

CNY=CFXS

+0.03

-1.26

.SSEC

1.27

0.45

India

INR=IN

+0.09

+0.38

.NSEI

-0.51

0.98

Indonesia

IDR=

+0.26

-1.25

.JKSE

-0.17

0.88

Malaysia

MYR=

+0.34

-3.89

.KLSE

-0.46

6.22

Philippines

PHP=

+0.34

-0.65

.PSI

0.08

7.02

S.Korea

KRW=KFTC

+0.45

-3.06

.KS11

0.41

0.34

Singapore

SGD=

+0.22

-1.63

.STI

-0.01

-0.73

Taiwan

TWD=TP

+0.03

-2.48

.TWII

0.94

5.14

Thailand

THB=TH

+0.24

-4.43

.SETI

0.60

-0.98




Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

Asian stock markets https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4


Reporting by Ayushman Ojha in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry and Janane Venkatraman

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