Asian stocks rose on bargain hunting Tuesday after two days of losses, but dealers remain nervous that the US budget stand-off shows no signs of being solved, fuelling fears Washington will suffer a catastrophic default.
Despite Republicans and Democrats digging in their heels and raising the stakes in the Capitol Hill deadlock the dollar rebounded against the yen, lifting Japanese exporters.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index, which closed at its lowest level in more than a month on Monday, gained 41.29 points to 13,894.61, while the Topix index of all first-section issues increased 0.22 percent, or 2.55 points, to 1,150.13.
"Considering the recent decline, I can say it's natural to see buying on dips," said Katsuhiro Kondo, a broker with Tokai Tokyo Securities.
"But today's rebound does not guarantee a firm recovery," Kondo said. "It's difficult to buy shares until the US budget impasse finishes."
Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso said Tuesday any country with large holdings of US government bonds would have to consider what would happen if the debt ceiling is not raised in a timely manner.
"We have to look at various possibilities, including a possible decline in the value of Japan's Treasury holdings," Aso said.
Japan Airlines tumbled 1.89 percent to 5,700 yen on profit-taking following a three percent rise on Monday helped by news of its purchase of 31 Airbus planes.
Fuji Heavy, which makes Subaru cars, rose 2.24 percent to 2,732 yen after the Nikkei business daily reported that the company and Toyota Motor would jointly develop a hybrid sport utility vehicle.
Rakuten dropped 11.66 percent to 1,196 yen after rival Yahoo Japan's announcement that it will stop charging sellers who use its online shopping site.
The Seoul index was up 0.42 percent, or 8.34 points, at 2,002.76 but Sydney slipped 0.23 percent, or 11.7 points, to 5,149.4.
Hong Kong was 0.89 percent higher, adding 204.90 points to 23,178.85 and Shanghai climbed 1.08 percent, or 23.53 points, to 2,198.20 in the first session after a week-long Chinese holiday.
The crisis weighed on the dollar in the morning but the unit enjoyed some support against the yen in the afternoon.
In Tokyo the greenback bought 97.12 yen in the afternoon, against 96.68 yen in New York on Monday.
The euro traded at $1.3566 compared with $1.3579, while it was also at 131.77 yen, from 131.30 yen.
However, National Australia Bank said in a note: "With the debt ceiling set to be breached in just 10 days' time, market nervousness is rising."
It added that "the yen stands to benefit the most from the US fiscal issues, due to its strong safe-haven characteristics and dissociation from the US budget troubles".
On oil markets New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in November rose 34 cents to 103.37 while Brent North Sea crude for November added one cent to $109.69.
Gold cost $1,325.00 at 0800 GMT compared with $1,313.05 on Monday.
In other markets:
-- Taipei rose 0.50 percent, or 41.99 points, at 8,375.65.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co gained 1.94 percent to Tw$105.0 while design house MediaTek climbed 1.47 percent to Tw$378.5.
-- Wellington fell 0.37 percent, or 17.37 points, to 4,738.68.
Air New Zealand was down 0.33 percent at NZ$1.49 and Fletcher Building lost 0.11 percent to NZ$9.36, but Telecom rose 0.43 percent to NZ$2.31.
-- Manila closed 0.18 percent higher, adding 11.65 points to 6,454.86.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. shed 0.13 percent to end at 2,996 pesos while Ayala Land rose 3.30 percent to 29.75 pesos.
-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report --