US Inflation Data Was Accidentally Released 30 Minutes Early - Latest Global News

US Inflation Data Was Accidentally Released 30 Minutes Early

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics accidentally released consumer price index data 30 minutes early on Wednesday, raising new questions about how the agency publishes some of the world’s most sensitive economic information.

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While there were no obvious signs that the early release moved markets, the episode is likely to prompt close scrutiny of the spread of data impacting global asset prices and Federal Reserve policy.

“In advance of today’s CPI and Real Earnings releases, BLS inadvertently uploaded a subset of files to the website approximately 30 minutes before the release,” the agency said in a statement posted on its website Wednesday evening.

BLS typically releases its monthly consumer prices report at 8:30 a.m. in Washington and is subject to strict protocols designed to prevent early release. The numbers are being closely scrutinized by investors and central bank officials looking for signals about the direction of the economy.

U.S. stock index futures jumped and Treasury yields immediately fell after media outlets including Bloomberg News released official CPI data at 8:30 a.m., with the S&P 500 index ending the day at an all-time high. There were no strong movements in the half-hour period between the first and scheduled data releases.

“I suspect the market as a whole was not trading on this early release,” said Mingze Wu, a foreign exchange trader at StoneX Financial in Singapore. Still, Wu pointed out that 30 minutes would be a “very long” time for traders to respond to an early data release when they hear about it.

Read more: US inflation falls for first time in six months in relief for Fed

This is not the first time BLS data practices have come under scrutiny. A month ago, Bloomberg News reported that a BLS economist corresponded with major Wall Street firms such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and BlackRock Inc. about data related to a key U.S. inflation measure, raising questions about equal access.

In December 2022, a spike in Treasury futures seconds before better-than-expected inflation data was released on the BLS website sparked concerns about a possible leak or hack. The BLS said at the time that it had found no evidence that its systems were compromised or that there had been any suspicious activity related to the release.

The agency said it notified the Labor Department’s Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Inspector General about Wednesday’s incident.

“BLS takes data security seriously and is conducting a comprehensive investigation into its procedures and controls to ensure the incident does not occur again,” the agency said.

– With support from Ruth Carson and Abhishek Vishnoi.

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