Asia markets traded mixed on Monday, with traders focused on the wobbling dollar and the upcoming two-day policy meeting from the Fed later in the week.
In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 34.74 points, or 0.61 percent, to 5,688.10, with most sectors finishing lower.
The heavily-weighted financials subindex closed down 0.77 percent as major banking stocks remained under pressure throughout the trading day. Shares of ANZ closed down 0.73 percent, Commonwealth Bank fell 0.48 percent, Westpac was lower by 0.77 percent and the National Australia Bank slid 1.02 percent.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 pared some of its losses to close down 124.08 points, or 0.62 percent, at 19,975.67, while the Topix index closed down 8.42 points, or 0.52 percent, at 1,621.57. Across the Korea Strait, the Kospi retraced early losses to close nearly flat at 2,451.53.
On the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai composite bucked the downward trend to close up 12.5 points, or 0.39 percent, at 3,250.49. The Shenzhen composite reversed early losses to tack on 8.85 points, or 0.48 percent, to 1,854.66. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index traded up 0.45 percent in late afternoon trade.
In the currency market, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, traded at 93.925 at 3:28 p.m. HK/SIN, climbing from an earlier session low of 93.823. Reuters reported that was the lowest level since June 2016. The dollar index had seen levels above 95.00 last week.
Increasing political uncertainty from the White House contributed to another bout of dollar weakness, analysts said Monday, following on a rough close last week for the greenback.
Last week, a shakeup in the White House saw press secretary Sean Spicer abruptly resign after opposing President Donald Trump's appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. The musical chairs within the administration are likely to add to the perception of a wobbly White House subject to infighting.
"Spicer's resignation on Friday was the latest political event to perpetuate the notion of disarray within team Trump," Ray Attrill, head of foreign-exchange strategy at the National Australia Bank, told CNBC. That came "on top of last Thursday's news that special counsel (Robert) Mueller's investigations were broadening to include prior Trump business dealings," he said.
Mueller, a former FBI director, was named by the Justice Department in May to lead an investigation into Russian interference in last year's U.S. elections. Reports also suggested Trump is considering terminating Mueller and that the president was looking into the extent of his authority to
Trump's son-in-law and White House advisor, Jared Kushner, will also be interviewed this week by the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session.