* Malaysian stocks hit over 3-year high
* China stocks scale over 8-month high
* Indonesia rate decision due on Wednesday

By John Biju
       May 20 (Reuters) - Most Asian stock markets advanced on
Monday while currencies held steady, as investor sentiment was
bolstered by China's latest measures to support its beleaguered
property sector.
    Chinese stocks gained as much as 0.6% to hit their
highest since early September 2023.
    Last week, China unveiled "historic" steps to stabilise its
crisis-hit property sector, although economic data indicated a
patchy recovery for the world's second-largest economy.
    Even with these measures, deep-rooted fundamentals of huge
oversupply and weak demand remain in the country.
    "We believe the policy package is just the beginning of the
central government's efforts to turn the sector around; there
could be more policy support to be introduced in the near term,"
Nomura analysts wrote in a note.
    In Southeast Asia, Malaysian shares extended gains
from last week to climb as much as 0.8% to hit their highest in
more than three years. Press Metal Aluminium Holdings
and Axiata Group led the gains.
    Stocks in Indonesia jumped as much as 0.8% to hit
their highest level since March 27, ahead of a central bank
policy decision. 
    A Reuters poll showed that the central bank will likely keep
its key interest rate on hold through next quarter to support a
weak rupiah. In its last policy meeting, Bank Indonesia
unexpectedly hiked rates in an effort to stabilise the rupiah.
    The currency, which has lost 3.6% so far this year,
edged 0.2% lower for the day. 
    "We are staying cautious on the IDR despite the more
optimistic U.S. data last week, as the path downwards for U.S.
inflation is still one that is likely to bumpy," Maybank
analysts wrote in a note.
    Last week, the Philippine central bank stood pat on rates
but hinted at cutting in August ahead of major central banks
including the U.S. Federal Reserve.
    Markets are wagering at least two Fed rate cuts this year
after data last week showed U.S. consumer prices eased in April,
but several Fed officials have sounded words of caution on when
easing might happen.
    Most emerging Asian currencies were steady, with market
participants awaiting minutes of the Fed's last policy meeting
and inflation data from Singapore this week for further
    The Thai baht edged higher. Thailand trimmed its
economic growth forecast for 2024 despite a better-than-expected
expansion in the January-March quarter.
    ** BOJ may face more pressure to hike rates as weak yen hits
consumer spending
    ** China leaves benchmark LPRs unchanged, in line with
    ** Indonesia's current account deficit widens in Q1
 ies at                                         
                     DAILY  YTD %     X      S  S YTD
                         %               DAILY      %
 Japan               -0.06  -9.43  <.N2  1.03   17.10
 China                           EC>          
 India                   -  -0.15  <.NS      -   3.55
 Indones             -0.16  -3.64  <.JK   0.07   0.68
 ia                                SE>          
 Malaysi             +0.02  -2.01  <.KL   0.76  11.98
 a                                 SE>          
 Philipp             -0.14  -4.11  <.PS   0.89   3.52
 ines                              I>           
 S.Korea                         11>          
 Singapo             +0.04  -1.92  <.ST  -0.10   2.16
 re                                I>           
 Taiwan              -0.12  -4.69  <.TW  -0.32  18.18
 Thailan             +0.19  -5.07  <.SE   0.10  -2.25
 d                                 TI>          

 (Reporting by John Biju in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu