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EMERGING MARKETS-Malaysia stocks hit by extended COVID-19 curbs, Taiwan dollar jumps

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * Philippines, S, Korea, Indonesia shares drop 1%
    * Indonesia rupiah eases ahead of c.bank meet on Thursday
    * China markets closed for holiday

    By Anushka Trivedi
    Feb 17 (Reuters) - Malaysian shares fell on Wednesday as
COVID-19 curbs were extended in some parts of the country, while
Taiwan markets defied the broader gloom with the local dollar
and stocks rising on the resumption of trade after the Lunar New
Year holiday.
    Malaysia's stock index dropped 0.6%, its worst day
in more than a week, as restrictions here
 in three states and the Kuala Lumpur territory were extended to
March 4, despite a vaccination drive announced on Tuesday.

    Analysts at CGS-CIMB Securities forecast "hiccups" in
implementing the vaccine programme that aims to cover at least
80% of its 32 million people within a year, hurting stocks that
should potentially benefit from the economic recovery. 
    "Among the concerns are that the number of vaccine doses may
not be sufficient to meet the tight deadline," they said.    
     Most Asian markets were hobbled by a firm dollar,
which benefited from benchmark ten-year U.S. Treasury yields
 rising to their highest in a year on expectations of
a stimulus-led economic recovery and lift-off in inflation.
    Recent stock market gains in the Philippines, South
Korea and Indonesia fell more than 1% while
their respective currencies,, eased.
    "Investors are probably trying to strike a balance between
reflation hopes and seemingly overstretched valuations, allowing
recent rallies to take a brief pause," Margaret Yang, a
strategist at DailyFX said.    
    The rupiah declined 0.6% on added pressure from
investors' unwinding their positions ahead of Bank Indonesia's
(BI) meeting on Thursday where an interest rate cut is widely
expected.
    A multi-day rally in South Korea's stocks and won also lost
steam as COVID-19 cases there hit a 39-day high.
    Taiwan's dollar, however, climbed 1.5%, while 
stocks surged 3.8% after a week-long holiday.
    China's financial markets were closed for a holiday, but the
offshore yuan declined 0.2% after U.S. President Joe
Biden vowed repercussions for Beijing over human rights abuses,
threatening a flare up in tensions between the two nations.

    
    HIGHLIGHTS
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up almost 5.6
basis points at 6.34%​​  
    ** Top losers on Thailand's SETI include Muramoto
Electron Thailand PCL down 7.9% and Group Lease PCL
 down 7.5%
    ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index
include Axiata Group Bhd and PETRONAS Chemicals Group
Bhd, down about 3% each
    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0443 GMT                                            
 COUNTRY       FX RIC      FX DAILY %   FX YTD %        INDEX   STOCKS DAILY %   STOCKS YTD
                                                                                          %
 Japan                          +0.14      -2.50                         -0.55        10.40
 India                          -0.27      +0.25                         -0.50         8.97
 Indonesia                      -0.29      +0.57                         -1.09         4.10
 Malaysia                       -0.12      -0.32                         -0.50        -1.79
 Philippines                    -0.09      -0.73                         -1.76        -3.07
 S.Korea                        -0.71      -1.97                         -1.08         8.90
 Singapore                      -0.05      -0.53                         -0.46         2.74
 Taiwan                         +1.47      +1.80                          3.59        11.11
 Thailand                       -0.33      -0.03                          0.16         5.26
 
 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru
Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
  
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