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EMERGING MARKETS-Indonesia rupiah flat, stocks jump ahead of cenbank rate decision

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * Indonesia central bank announces rate decision later
    * S. Korea shares drop as virus cases climb
    * Singtel reports data breach, shares drop

    By Anushka Trivedi
    Feb 18 (Reuters) - Indonesia's rupiah was little changed
while shares rose on Thursday ahead of the country's central
bank meeting where chances of an interest rate cut seemed to dim
after rising U.S. yields this week dented the currency.
    Indonesia bonds were sold off heavily on Wednesday and the
rupiah slipped, prompting several analysts to scale back bets of
a 25 basis point interest rate cut as the central bank has 
prioritised currency stability in the past.
    The rupiah was steady at 14,010 per dollar after
easing 0.6% in the previous session. Stocks jumped 0.9%,
after falling the previous day as U.S. benchmark Treasury yields
 hit a one-year high.    
    "The necessary condition has always been that there
shouldn't be much turmoil in markets, hence, the probability of
the cut does go down because of what has been happening," said
Arup Raha, head of ASEAN Economics at BNP Paribas.
    "However, our official call is that there will be monetary
accommodation from Bank Indonesia (BI) over the course of 2021
and this may be one of those meetings where they will cut."  
    BI should continue to provide a backstop for the purchase of
government bonds, he added, stressing on the need for monetary
policy to work in tandem with government's fiscal support.
    Indonesia financed its 2020 fiscal deficit and COVID-19
stimulus by raising debt, a good portion of which was bought by
the central bank.
    Other currencies in the region found some support in the
dollar's mild losses in Asian trade. The Malaysian
ringgit, Singapore dollar and the Philippine
peso all rose around 0.1%.
    South Korea stocks slid 1.2% to a one-week low as
daily coronavirus cases rose by another 621, unchanged from a
day earlier when it marked the highest level in 39 days.
 
     China shares rallied up to 2% while the yuan
 ticked up on resuming trade after a week-long Lunar
New year holiday.
    Singapore Telecommunications slumped 3% to weigh
on the Straits Times Index after the telco reported a
privacy breach, which led to data of some consumers being
stolen.    
    
    HIGHLIGHTS
    ** Philippine and Malaysia shares fell 1.1%
and 0.2%, respectively
    ** JGS Summit and Aboitiz Equity are top
losers on the Philippine index
    ** Top gainers on the Jakarta index: PT Mahaka Radio Integra
Tbk, up 27% and PT Nusantara Inti Corpora Tbk
, up 25%
    
 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0423 GMT                                          
 COUNTRY        FX RIC      FX DAILY %  FX YTD %     INDEX  STOCKS DAILY %  STOCKS YTD %
 Japan                           +0.01     -2.46                     -0.16         10.20
 China                           +0.10     +1.20                      0.39          5.65
 India                           +0.00     +0.45                      0.09          8.88
 Indonesia                       +0.00     +0.21                      0.44          4.62
 Malaysia                        +0.02     -0.40                     -0.19         -2.15
 Philippines                     -0.03     -0.82                     -1.33         -3.73
 S.Korea                         +0.20     -1.73                     -1.13          7.83
 Singapore                       +0.02     -0.55                     -0.41          2.27
 Taiwan                          +1.69     +2.06                      0.40         11.50
 Thailand                        -0.10     -0.17                     -0.02          4.50
 

    

 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana
Nicolaci da Costa)
  
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