* Malaysian ringgit around 26-yr-lows
* Indonesia rate decision due later in day
* Stocks in Asia largely subdued

By Ayushman Ojha
       Feb 21 (Reuters) - Malaysia's ringgit hovered around
26-year lows on Wednesday while other emerging Asian currencies
strengthened marginally, as investors awaited Indonesia's
interest rate decision later in the day.
    The ringgit edged up 0.1% by midday, recovering
marginally but still near its lowest levels since January 1998,
which it hit on Tuesday.
    Malaysia's central bank, taking stock of the slide,
reassured markets by saying that the unit's recent performance
was largely due to external factors and did not reflect the
health of the country's economy.
    "Some of these (external) factors include market adjustment
to changing U.S. interest rate expectations, geopolitical
concerns and uncertainty surrounding China’s economic
prospects," said Bank Negara Malaysia chief Abdul Rasheed
Ghaffour in a statement.
    The South Korean won and the Philippine peso
 rose as much as 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively.
    The Indonesian rupiah was largely flat, while local
stocks were 0.7% lower, ahead of the key interest rate
    Bank Indonesia is expected to keep its key policy rate
unchanged over subdued inflation and an improving outlook for
the currency, according to a Reuters poll of economists who
predicted the first rate cut to come next quarter.
    "The economic growth is expected to accelerate after a
discount of the policy rate by the central bank," said analysts
at Maybank.
    Stocks in the region also eased as diminishing expectations
of early interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve sapped risk
    The Fed will release minutes of its last meeting later in
the day, though they have been overtaken by high readings for
consumer and producer prices.
    In Thailand, data on Monday showed the economy unexpectedly
contracted in the fourth quarter of 2023. Prime Minister Srettha
Thavisin said the economy was in a critical stage the following
day and again urged the central bank to cut interest rates
without waiting for a scheduled meeting.
    The Bank of Thailand has previously said cutting interest
rates would do little to help the economy unless structural
issues are resolved.
    Thailand's stock market was up as much as 1% and the
baht gained as much as 0.3% after hitting it lowest
level since Nov. 2023 in the last session.
    The BOT's next meeting is scheduled for April 10.

    ** Indonesia issues regulations requiring digital platforms
to pay media for content
    ** Thai industrial sentiment index rises in Jan
    ** Vietnam stocks outshine peers as investors shrug off
China exposure    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies                         
 at 0524 GMT                                          
                       DAILY  YTD %            DAILY   YTD %
                           %                       %  
 Japan                 -0.02  -5.97           -0.28%  14.32%
 China                 +0.15  -1.17             2.19    0.40
 India                 +0.08  +0.37            -0.02    2.12
 Indones               -0.03  -1.69            -0.69    0.40
 Malaysi               +0.10  -4.18            -0.38    6.54
 Philipp               +0.13  -1.06             0.20    6.48
 S.Korea               +0.22  -3.49            -0.31   -0.21
 Singapo               +0.01  -1.81            -0.32   -0.20
 Taiwan                +0.01  -2.39            -0.43    4.14
 Thailan               +0.13  -4.89             0.88   -1.60

 (Reporting by Ayushman Ojha in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K)