Cattle futures rose for the first time in three days on signs that beef demand is increasing as importers boost purchases and U.S. grocers stock up for summer grilling.

U.S. exporters sold 14,710 metric tons of beef the week ended June 17, up 42% from a week earlier, said USDA. U.S. demand may rise for the Independence Day holiday on July 4, when many consumers grill outdoors. Inventories at the end of May were 13% smaller than a year earlier, the USDA said on June 22.

“We had good export sales on cattle, well above a year ago,” said Christian Mayer, a market adviser at Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis. “And people may buy a lot of product for the Fourth of July. We’ll see a lot of sales in stores.”

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