Obama's Real Motive Behind The Iran Deal: A Backdoor Channel To Sell Weapons To Saudi Arabia

For a long time there was confusion about the "quo" to the Saudi Arabian "quid" over its agreement to side with the US on the Iranian "nuclear deal" (which incidentally looks like it will never happen simply due to the Russian and Chinese UN vetoes). Then over the weekend we finally got the answer: the details are quite familiar to anyone who has seen the US Military-Industrial Complex in action: the US pretends to wage an aggressive diplomatic campaign of peace while behind the scenes it is just as actively selling weapons of war.

Capital Controls Hit Greek Banks: FX Trading Curbed As Credit Lines Cut

While officials have begun their own versions of capital controls by raiding pension funds, confiscating local government cash, and surcharges on withdrawals (and transfer ceilings); it appears the market participants themselves have now imposed their own share of capital controls. As Bloomberg reports, international securities firms are curtailing trading with major Greek banks - pulling credit lines and restricting FX trading limits - as fear of Grexit looms.

Fed Agrees To Name The FOMC Leaker (As Long As Congress Keeps It Secret)

Having initially missed its deadline to provide a response to Congress with regard the 2012 leak of FOMC minutes to an external newsletter writer, The Fed reluctantly admitted that none other than Janet Yellen had met with them. Today, however, as The Wall Street Journal reports, The (unaudited) Fed has agreed to furnish a congressional panel with the names of its staffers who had contact with Medley Global Advisors in the months before the leak, “with the understanding that the names will be kept confidential." So we'll happily tell you who leaked it... as long as you don't tell the public. Audit The Fed!!!

The Problem Isn't Over-Production; It's Mal-Investment!

Mr. Max Ehrendfreund, writing in the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, believes that he has discovered something new: that the world is producing too much and doesn’t know what to do with it. His solution, of course, is to confiscate the overproduced products, such as oil and cotton, from its rightful owners and give it to the people who need it. This phony problem and its statist solution goes back at least as far at the 1930’s socialist calls for “production for use” vs. the hated capitalist concept of “production for profit“.

Corporate Kleptocracy: 6,300 Examples Of America's Malignant Malfeasance

What follows is a remarkable data base of Corporate Fines and Settlements. From blatant cartel price-fixing or not disclosing the dangers of the company's heavily promoted medications to destroying documents to thwart an investigation of wrong-doing, the list is stunning and reads like a who's who of Corporate America and Top 100 Global Corporations. In other words, these were not wrist-slaps for minor oversights of complex regulations - these are blatant violations of core laws of the land and while the PR spins how corporate profits benefit widows and orphans, this vast wealth is concentrated in the top 1% and the top 5%.

Yellen Kills The Music, Says "Equity Valuations Are Quite High", Sends Dow Red For 2015

Back in July 2007 Citi's then CEO Chuck Prince, a little over a year before his bank received a gargantuan government bailout said "as long as the music is playing, you've got to get up and dance." Moments ago Janet Yellen just killed the music: YELLEN SAYS EQUITY MARKET VALUATIONS QUITE HIGH

Or, paraphrased, the $4.5 trillion balance sheet the US created, and the $22 trillion in assets purchased by global central banks to keep the dream alive, has lead to "quite high" stock prices.

Greek Deal On Monday "Not Possible" MNI Reports Despite Troika Attempt To Reconcile Differences

With the crucial May 12th €774mm Greek IMF payment looming (and thus even more critical May 11th deadline for the Eurogroup's decision to release around €7bn in additional funds to Greece), the much-discussed 'splintering' of the Troika (The Institutions as the Greeks would prefer we describe them) appears to be gradually un-splintering. Today's statement from the EU talks that the members of the Troika "share the same objective" may reassure some after the 'limbo' of serious disagreements between the European Commission and The IMF. However, with various 'red lines' remaining unaddressed, EU sources say a deal on Monday is not possible.

 

As The 10 Year Selloff Accelerates, "All Eyes On The 2.27%/2.32% Support Zone"

For the chartists out there (and these days that would mean pretty much all momentum-igniting algos who are the only ones left trading these here "markets") the following note from SocGen explaining why if/when the 10Y selloff rises above 2.32% it may be a time to panic (and vice versa) is quite relevant now that the 10Y is just a few basis points away.

Crude Pumps (And Dumps) After DOE Show Biggest Inventory Draw In 8 Months

Confirming last night's API inventory data, DOE just reported a 3.882 million barrel drawdown in total crude inventories (considerably more than the 1.5mm bbbl draw expected). This is the biggest draw since early September. The initial spike took WTI Crude prices above $62.50 but that is fading now...

On Flash Crash Anniversary Scapegoat Sarao Says "I Did Nothing Wrong Apart From Being Good At My Job"

While the rest of the world, or at least 1% of it, is enjoying the ongoing "wealth effect" propping up the increasingly more rickety "markets" built on the backs of $22 trillion in central bank assets, or more than the GDP of the US and Japan combined, earlier today Nav was fighting if not for his life then certainly his freedom when he told a London court he had done nothing wrong, the Flash Crash was not his fault, and was just good at his job. "I've not done anything wrong apart from being good at my job. How is this allowed to go on, man?" Sarao said at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

California Adopts "Unprecedented" Restrictions On Water Use As Drought Worsens

California water regulators are getting worried. The state has now approved a set of sweeping conservation measures designed to cut water consuption by up to 36% in some areas to combat a severe drought that has now killed some 12 million trees and threatens to turn California into a modern day Dust Bowl.

US Productivity Suffers First Consecutive Quarterly Plunge Since 1993

Well this cannot be good. US output per hour (for the non-farm businesses) - or non-Farm productivity - plunged 1.9% in Q1. This follows a 2.1% slump in Q4 2014 and is the first consecutive quarterly plunge since 1993. This was driven by a 0.2% decline in output as hours worked increased 1.7% with manufacturing productivity suffering a 1.1% drop in Q1 (driven by a 1.2% decline in output).

ADP Employment Tumbles To 15 Month Lows As Manufacturing Jobs Plunge

Following March's dismal drop in the ADP Employment report (the biggest miss in 4 years) and missing for 3 straight months, April printed a very weak 169k (against notably lowere expectations of a 200k rise). Even worse, February and March was revised even lower. This is lower than the lowest economist estimate. Large companies were particularly weak with smaller businesses adding the bulk of the meager jobs print. The esteemed Mark Zandi blames this on "the fallout from the collapse of oil prices and the surging value of the dollar."

Germanwings Co-Pilot May Have Tried To Crash Previous Flight

A new report from France's air accident investigation agency shows that Andreas Lubitz repeatedly put the outbound flight from Düsseldorf to Barcelona into an unexplained controlled descent on the same day he deliberately flew the inbound flight into the French Alps killing all 150 passangers.