1. In this paper, we consider two fundamental cut approximation problems on large graphs. We prove new lower bounds for both problems that are optimal up to logarithmic factors. The first problem is approximating cuts in balanced directed graphs, where the goal is to build a data structure to provide a $(1 \pm \epsilon)$-estimation of the cut values of a graph on $n$ vertices. For this problem, there are tight bounds for undirected graphs, but for directed graphs, such a data structure requires $\Omega(n^2)$ bits even for constant $\epsilon$. To cope with this, recent works consider $\beta$-balanced graphs, meaning that for every directed cut, the total weight of edges in one direction is at most $\beta$ times the total weight in the other direction. We consider the for-each model, where the goal is to approximate a fixed cut with high probability, and the for-all model, where the data structure must simultaneously preserve all cuts. We improve the previous $\Omega(n \sqrt{\beta/\epsilon})$ lower bound in the for-each model to $\tilde\Omega(n \sqrt{\beta}/\epsilon)$ and we improve the previous $\Omega(n \beta/\epsilon)$ lower bound in the for-all model to $\Omega(n \beta/\epsilon^2)$. This resolves the main open questions of (Cen et al., ICALP, 2021). The second problem is approximating the global minimum cut in the local query model where we can only access the graph through degree, edge, and adjacency queries. We prove an $\Omega(\min\{m, \frac{m}{\epsilon^2 k}\})$ lower bound for this problem, which improves the previous $\Omega(\frac{m}{k})$ lower bound, where $m$ is the number of edges of the graph, $k$ is the minimum cut size, and we seek a $(1+\epsilon)$-approximation. In addition, we observe that existing upper bounds with minor modifications match our lower bound up to logarithmic factors.