* Week-long Lunar New Year Holiday in China begins on
Thursday
    * Philippine c.bank likely to hold rates 
    * Malaysia's GDP slump likely deepened in Q4- poll

    By Shruti Sonal
    Feb 10 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian stock markets treaded
water on Wednesday as investors stayed away from making big bets
ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, while improving risk
sentiment aided regional currencies.
    Thailand and Indonesia gained over 0.2%
each, while Singapore and India fell as much as
0.4% and 0.7% respectively. 
    Volumes remained thin and sentiment was sombre ahead of the
holiday, even as broader Asian stocks hit a record high on
upbeat earnings and hopes of a large U.S. fiscal stimulus.

    Stock markets in Vietnam and Taiwan were already closed for
the holidays, while China will enter a week-long holiday from
Thursday.
    The Manila benchmark, which climbed as much as 1.3%
earlier in the session, erased some gains to trade up 0.2% by
0743 GMT. 
    Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is expected to keep its
benchmark interest rate steady at a record low on Thursday,
brushing aside a projected uptick in inflation to support the
country's pandemic-hit economy, a Reuters poll showed.

    The bank will likely look through a recent increase in
inflation and maintain an easy monetary policy stance, Standard
Chartered analysts wrote in a note.
    However, the pace of recovery in the pandemic-hit economy
remains a worry. 
    "The economy remains quarters away from returning to
pre-pandemic levels of GDP," said ING senior economist Nicholas
Mapa.
    "Furthermore, above-target inflation, elevated jobless
numbers and the absence of business sentiment will likely mean
that growth momentum in the Philippines will be stuck in low
gear for now."  
    Malaysian equities climbed 0.4% ahead of release of
fourth-quarter GDP data on Thursday, with financials and
industrials leading the gains. 
    A Reuters poll showed that the economic slump is expected to
have deepened as a result of sustained restrictions on movement
and businesses to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

    "Worryingly, Q4 weakness is not merely backward-looking as a
spill-over impact from wider MCO (movement control orders)
alongside (the) state of emergency declared darken growth
prospects for Q1 2021 as well," Mizuho Bank analysts warned.
    Currencies in the region were broadly steady as the U.S. 
dollar hit two-week lows, with improving risk sentiment hurting
the safe-haven greenback and aiding riskier Asian forex.
    The risk-on environment and a rally in commodity prices
remain largely favourable to the Asian currencies, wrote Terence
Wu of OCBC Bank.
    However, outsized appreciation bias remains curtailed by
vigilant central banks and a sideways USD, Wu added. 
    The South Korean won added 0.9%, while the
Malaysian ringgit ticked up 0.2%.
    
    
    Highlights: 
    
    ** DBS flags pick-up in growth led by wealth management,
stable credit costs
    ** Top gainers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index
include Hong Leong Bank Bhd, Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd
, Public Bank Bhd
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                  
 currencies at   0802 GMT                          
 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX  FX YTD  INDEX  STOCKS   STOCKS
                     DAILY       %          DAILY    YTD %
                         %                      %  
 Japan               +0.07   -1.21  <.N22   0.19    7.72
                                    5>             
 China    <CNY=CFX   -0.06   +1.41  <.SSE    1.43     5.24
          S>                        C>             
 India               +0.09   +0.33  <.NSE   -0.29     7.75
                                    I>             
 Indones             +0.07   +0.43  <.JKS    0.33     3.73
 ia                                 E>             
 Malaysi             +0.20   -0.45  <.KLS    0.46    -2.07
 a                                  E>             
 Philipp             +0.04   +0.00  <.PSI    0.23    -0.81
 ines                               >              
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.87   -1.88  <.KS1    0.52     7.90
          C>                        1>             
 Singapo             +0.04   -0.33  <.STI   -0.15     3.06
 re                                 >              
 Taiwan              +0.00   +0.33  <.TWI       -     7.26
                                    I>             
 Thailan             +0.07   +0.17  <.SET    0.16     4.92
 d                                  I>             

SOURCE : https://www.reuters.com/article/emerging-markets-asia/emerging-markets-asian-shares-mixed-ahead-of-lunar-new-year-holiday-idUSL4N2KG23R