The euro crept up 0.3 percent versus the dollar on Monday as a win for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in elections in his home region was seen as clearing one obstacle to Madrid seeking international aid.
But slow progress towards a banking union in the 17-member euro area and worries about agreement over a common budget for the whole European Union limited the gains.
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"There will remain uncertainty on Spain's bailout request. And if it does, the market may think that the euro will have run out of euro-positive factors," said Minori Uchida, chief forex analyst at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
Meanwhile the dollar touched a three-month high against the yen of 79.680 yen, on rising speculation of more monetary easing by the Bank of Japan following a more than 10 percent drop in Japanese exports in September.
The bigger than expected fall in Japanese exports followed weak Chinese trade data and comes ahead of October purchasing managers' reports this week that could reignite concerns over global growth.
European share markets pulled back on concerns over the economic outlook and its impact on corporate earnings. The FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> of top European shares was down 0.2 percent at 1,109.43 points.
London's FTSE 100 , Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX all opened down around 0.2 percent.
U.S. stock index futures, however, pointed to a recovery on Wall Street, which had its worst day since late June on Friday when U.S. economic bellwethers General Electric and McDonald's both disappointed investors with their results.
Brent crude edged up towards $111 a barrel having already seen four days of decline on the worries over the fragile health of the global economy.
Brent crude for December delivery had risen 0.5 percent to $110.61 per barrel, while U.S. oil was up 0.4 percent at $90.47 a barrel.
(Reporting by Richard Hubbard)