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EMERGING MARKETS-Indonesia stocks drop on virus toll, U.S. stimulus helps broader Asia

    * Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
    * Indonesia pares some of its sharp early losses
    * Chip stocks jump in S.Korea
    * Taiwan's TSMC to prioritise auto chips if possible

    Jan 25 (Reuters) - Indonesian shares fell sharply early on
Monday on concerns over the country's rising COVID-19 toll,
while delays in vaccine supplies and spikes in cases globally
weighed on broader investor sentiment in Asia's emerging
currency and stock markets. 
    Optimism that the new U.S. administration would pass a
promised $1.9 trillion in fiscal stimulus, however, provided
some support to investors in the region betting that could
revive the world's largest economy.  
    "Markets are not in dire despair," Mizuho Bank said in a
note to clients. "But earlier optimism, and the consequent
reflationary reactions are being subjected to some degree of
re-calibration. And caution is being baked in."
    The sharp 2.5% fall in early trade in Jakarta was
also scaled back slightly though shares remained at a more than
two-week low. Indonesia recorded two days of record coronavirus
deaths last week and has one of Asia's highest case loads.
    Mirae Asset Sekuritas said COVID-19 cases are rising in the
capital Jakarta and East Java, two parts of the country that are
key contributors to Indonesia's economy.
    The rupiah, favoured by foreign investors looking to
tap Indonesia's high-yielding debt, was flat in line with the
region's emerging currencies as the dollar held steady ahead of
the U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting this Thursday.
    Markets are expecting the Fed to stay dovish with
policymakers in recent weeks stemming worries of early tapering.
    "That's always a difficult tightrope to walk," said Robert
Carnell, ING's Asia-Pacific head of research, about messaging on
the Fed's dovish stance.
    "So could explain why markets are not committing themselves
ahead of the meeting," he added.  
    South Korea was an outlier in the region, with its shares
climbing 1.8% with chip giants Samsung Electronics
and SK Hynix leading gains. 
    In nearby Taiwan, the country's economics minister spoke to
senior executives at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd
(TSMC) about prioritising production of auto chips if
possible over concerns of global shortages.
        
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 3.40 basis
points at 6.323%
    ** Prima Globalindo Logistik PT Tbk, Indofarma Tbk
PT and Asuransi Jasa Tania Tbk PT fell the
most in Indonesia
 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0346 GMT      
 COUNTRY      FX          FX       FX     INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
              RIC         DAILY %  YTD %           DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    +0.02    -0.49           0.47     4.82
 China                    +0.09    +0.79           0.56     4.43
 India                    +0.00    +0.12           0.00     2.79
 Indonesia                +0.00    +0.14           -1.22    4.20
 Malaysia                 -0.05    -0.58           -0.19    -2.06
 Philippines              +0.04    -0.11           0.12     -1.19
 S.Korea                  +0.03    -1.51           1.79     11.25
 Singapore                +0.17    -0.39           -0.20    4.99
 Taiwan                   +1.36    +1.73           -0.76    7.90
 Thailand                 +0.03    -0.03           0.28     3.64
 

 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Jacqueline Wong)
  
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