* Indonesia presidential and legislative elections underway
* Thai baht touches 3-month low
* Singapore stocks hit lowest in 2-months

By Himanshi Akhand
       Feb 14 (Reuters) - Emerging Asian currencies and stocks
eased on Wednesday after hot U.S. inflation prompted traders to
push back expectations of imminent interest rate cuts by the
Federal Reserve, while presidential elections in Indonesia
remained in focus.
    The South Korean won fell 0.7% to its lowest in
three weeks, while the Thai baht weakened as much as
0.3% to a three-month low. 
    Malaysia's ringgit fell 0.4% and the Philippine peso
 retreated 0.5%.
    Data on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer prices rose more than
expected in January and the increase was the largest in four
months, clouding hopes of the Fed cutting rates sooner. 
    Futures now point to about 87 basis points of easing priced
in for the Fed this year, as compared to 110 bps prior to the
data release.           
    The dollar traded near a three-month high against major
peers and U.S. Treasury yields also surged overnight.
    "There were clear upside risks for the USD, although markets
were likely getting a bit weary of Fed pushback without the
support of data," analysts at Maybank wrote.
    "We caution that while the U.S. exceptionalism continues to
provide buoyancy for the USD in Feb, we could be facing peak
growth divergence between the US and the rest of the world
within this quarter."
    In Asia, markets in Indonesia were closed on Wednesday, with
citizens casting their ballots in the world's biggest single-day
election, headlined by the race to succeed President Joko
    The presidential race pits two former governors, Ganjar
Pranowo and Anies Baswedan, against controversial frontrunner
Prabowo Subianto.
    Two surveys last week projected Prabowo will win the
majority of votes and avoid a second run-off in June.
    "Given that there have already been much discontent within
the country's Cabinet, the delay of a clear leadership could
leave policies on a standstill and the lack of clarity may drive
some near-term shunning from foreign investors," Yeap Jun Rong,
market analyst at IG, wrote.
    Stock markets in the region tracked overnight losses on Wall
    Seoul stocks dropped 1%, and stocks in Singapore
 fell as much as 1.6% to their lowest in nearly two
    Equities in Malaysia, Thailand and India
 fell between 0.4% and 0.6%.
    The Philippine central bank's monetary policy decision due
on Thursday remains on local investors' radar. Economists expect
the bank to stay on hold and expect a first rate cut in the
third quarter of 2024, according to a Reuters poll. 
    Markets in China are closed for the Lunar New Year holidays
and will resume trade on Monday, Feb. 19.
    Investors are also waiting to see what authorities in
Beijing could do next to shore up the country's battered stock
market after appointing a new markets regulator just before the
    ** Malaysia likely saw steady economic growth in Q4 on
resilient consumption - Reuters poll
    ** South Korea inflation to ease at faster pace due to weak
demand, says KDI think tank

 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0447 GMT                                                 
 Japan                         +0.25               -6.22                    -0.91         12.41
 China                             -               -1.32                        -         -3.67
 India                         -0.09               +0.15                    -0.59         -0.54
 Indonesia                         -               -1.25                        -         -0.87
 Malaysia                      -0.38               -4.02                    -0.38          4.87
 Philippines                   -0.50               -1.48                     0.02          5.88
 S.Korea                       -0.64               -3.64                    -1.03         -1.24
 Singapore                     +0.08               -2.27                    -0.42         -3.44
 Taiwan                            -               -1.99                        -          0.92
 Thailand                      -0.08               -5.26                    -0.52         -2.22
 (Reporting by Himanshi Akhand in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani