Markets have focused on the escalation in trade-related rhetoric between the U.S. and China in recent weeks, although fears appeared to have eased during Asian trade.
"[T]rade war fears are not as intense as they were last week," Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, said in an early note.
U.S. stocks came under pressure in the last session after President Donald Trump said he had instructed U.S. trade officials to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese goods. In response, China's Ministry of Commerce said on Friday that it would "fight back with a major response" if the U.S. went ahead with its plan.
Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that China would remove its trade barriers as that would be the "right thing to do." Markets also awaited Chinese President Xi Jinping's Tuesday speech at the Boao Forum.
Investors have been on edge over how heightened trade tensions between the world's two largest economies could result in a potential trade war. That could, in turn, dent global economic growth and corporate profits.
Some analysts, however, saw the escalation as a part of Trump's negotiating tactics and are hopeful about talks between the two countries.
"[W]e are starting to see a lessening in the severity of the moves, especially in the foreign exchange market where the market is looking for confirmation of action before committing to a trend," Rakuten Securities Australia said in a note.
Against the yen, the dollar firmed slightly to trade at 107.12 by 2:46 p.m. HK/SIN. The dollar index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of currencies, stood at 90.140.
On the commodities front, oil prices edged higher after settling more than 2 percent lower in the last session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures added 0.45 percent to trade at $62.34 per barrel. Brent crude futures advanced by 0.51 percent to trade at $67.45.
In individual movers, shares of aluminum producer Rusal fell 48.28 percent by 2:47 p.m. HK/SIN. The Hong Kong-listed company, which is headquartered in Russia, was included in a U.S. sanctions list, according to Reuters.
Besides trade concerns, markets also digested the release of March nonfarm payrolls on Friday. Nonfarm payrolls rose 103,000 last month, missing an expected gain of 193,000.
Also of note, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday that gradual interest rate increases were needed, although he did not say exactly how many rate hikes were necessary.