* Taiwan stocks hit fresh record high
* Singapore stocks fall 1.4%
* China's Feb PMI & India's Q4 GDP due next week

By Ayushman Ojha
       Feb 23 (Reuters) - Stocks in Taiwan logged another
record high and South Korean shares were at their highest level
since May 2022 on Friday as AI chipmaker Nvidia's results drove
a global tech rally, while inflation in Singapore and Malaysia
came in lower than expected.
    Equities in Taiwan rose as much as 0.9%, while South
Korean stocks gained as much as 1.2%, after Nvidia on
Wednesday forecast a roughly three-fold jump in first-quarter
revenue on strong demand for its AI chips.
    Malaysian stocks were marginally higher after the
country's consumer price index in January rose 1.5% from a year
earlier, below the 1.6% growth forecast by economists in a
Reuters poll. 
    A similar inflation trend was seen in Singapore where the
key consumer price gauge rose 3.1% in January, lower than
economists' forecasts but remained sticky amid slowing economic
    Singapore shares were 1.4% lower, dragged by a 10.2%
drop in casino firm Genting Singapore after its
quarterly results took a hit on higher-than-expected
    Inflation prints in Asian economies have shown easing
trends, giving Asian central banks some breathing room, but the
focus of investors remains on the timing of rate cuts.
    Earlier this week, the central banks of Indonesia and South
Korea left their policy rates unchanged.
    However, "the recent run of stronger-than-anticipated data
threatens to delay rate cuts in the U.S., which could impact
Asian policymakers’ decisions," said analysts at ANZ in a note. 
    "The ability and willingness of Asian central banks to pivot
ahead of the U.S. Fed will depend on their external positions
and the domestic pressure for cuts," they added. 
    Currencies in the region were largely unchanged but headed
for weekly declines.
    The Singapore dollar was flat and on track for its
biggest weekly fall since the week of Dec. 29, 2023, while the
Thai baht weakened 0.1% and was set to lose most in a
week this month.
    The Malaysian ringgit hovered near a record low level
after reaching a 26-year-low on Tuesday. The currency's plunge
during the Asian financial crisis in 1998 led to then Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohamad pegging the currency at 3.8 to the
dollar, and the peg stayed until 2005.
    The country's current Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, said
the currency's fall this week was concerning but a comprehensive
view of the situation must be taken into account.
    Key data releases for next week include mainland China’s
February PMI, India’s fourth-quarter GDP and Hong Kong’s 2024-25
    ** Thai Jan exports rise for sixth straight month, up 10%
    ** Philippines watching U.S. presidential race closely,
seeks stronger ties, envoy says
    ** China's new home prices extend declines despite policy
  Asia stock indexes and                            
 currencies at 0555 GMT                        
                     DAILY   YTD     X      S  S YTD
                         %     %        DAILY      %
 Japan               -0.05  -6.3  <.N2  2.2%   16.88
                               3  25>          
 China                       7  EC>          
 India               -0.05  +0.4  <.NS   0.15   2.39
                               0  EI>          
 Indones             -0.02  -1.2  <.JK  -0.88   0.03
 ia                            4  SE>          
 Malaysi             -0.10  -3.9  <.KL   0.06   6.31
 a                             3  SE>          
 Philipp             -0.30  -0.9  <.PS   1.06   8.16
 ines                          0  I>           
 S.Korea                     0  11>          
 Singapo             -0.08  -1.8  <.ST  -1.19  -1.72
 re                            4  I>           
 Taiwan              -0.17  -2.6  <.TW   0.19   5.34
                               6  II>          
 Thailan             -0.21  -5.1  <.SE  -0.16  -1.10
 d                             0  TI>          

 (Reporting by Ayushman Ojha in Bengaluru; Editing by
Muralikumar Anantharaman)