Cattle futures were sharply lower early in the session and traded down to their lowest close since June 17th. Some traders have pointed to a negative demand tone that has been emerging for many agricultural markets as key factor with recent market weakness. Other traders see weaker US and global equities as a negative factor, as well as slower beef demand once the 4th of July retail features are booked. A limit-down move for August hogs added to the negative tone. The market also saw news from South Korea as a possible negative export demand factor, as that nation will resume imports of Canadian beef for the first time since 2003. August cattle are now in line with the current cash market, after cash cattle surged $3.00-$4.00 last week up to $112.00. Poor weather in the Southern US remains a factor that could lead to "extra" cattle to be moved into the market or onto feedlots. In Texas, 83% of the pasture and range is rated in poor to very poor condition. In Oklahoma, 52% is poor to very poor with 33% poor to very poor in Kansas. With a hot and dry weather projection with upcoming forecasts, conditions could get worse and force additional cattle off of pastures during the next few weeks. The demand tone is weak and traders will be monitoring beef prices closely this week, with a general expectation that beef demand slows after this weekend. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 130,000 head yesterday. This was up from 128,000 head last week and up from 127,000 head a year ago at this time. Boxed beef cutout values were up 28 cents at mid-session yesterday and closed 29 cents higher at $178.48. This was up from $174.84 the prior week, and is the highest beef market since May 25th.