Soybean futures rose for the third time the week of October 20 after the U.S. government reported increased overseas demand.

In the week ended October 3, exporters sold 929,752 metric tons of soybeans for delivery before September 30, more than double 2012 numbers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its latest report. The top buyer was China, the world's biggest consumer. Sales of soybean meal jumped to 850,141 tons, the most since before 1990, government data showed.

"U.S. exporters just keep selling soybeans to China and other overseas customers," said Roy Huckabay, an executive vice president at Chicago-based Linn Group. "The jump in meal sales is the big surprise and the main driver for higher prices today."

Soybean futures for delivery in January climbed 0.2 percent to $13.065 per bushel at 10:23 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybean-meal futures for December delivery rose 1.1 percent to $425.90 for 2,000 pounds, after touching $427.40, the highest since September 19.

In the 12 months that started October 1, China's soybean imports may jump 16 percent to a record 69 million metric tons from a year earlier, and corn shipments might more than double to 7 million metric tons, according to the USDA.