Japanese stocks are falling after the yen surged to more than 100 per dollar for only the second time this year. It is currently at 100.30 per dollar after a senior US central bank official indicated borrowing costs could be lifted as early as September.
The Japanese currency is considered a so-called safe haven and tends to strengthen in value when investors become more risk averse.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 opened 0.25% lower while the Topix fell too.
New Zealand stocks, the first major bourse to begin trading in the Asian day, rose by 0.5% after data showed its labour market recovered in the second quarter.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 is marginally lower after the world’s biggest mining company BHP Billiton reported a record net loss, dragging on other commodity stocks.