South Korean treasury bond prices edged up early on Monday, lifted by U.S. Treasuries' gains on doubts over future economic growth and weaker-than-expected domestic export data.

Official data showed before the market opening that the nation's exports in January rose less than expected, pushing the trade balance into its first deficit in 12 months and reinforcing fears of slowing recovery momentum.

However, the upside was capped as investors were reluctant to make big bets ahead of weekly bond auctions and inflation data due out later in the day.

The finance ministry will sell 1.6 trillion won ($1.38 billion) worth of 3-year treasury bonds while the central bank is set to issue 4.5 trillion won in short-dated notes.

The 3-year treasury bond yield fell 1 basis point to 4.26 and March treasury bond futures rose as much as 10 ticks before being quoted 7 ticks higher at 109.77 as of 0045 GMT.

(Reporting by Seo Eun-kyung; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)