MP urges watchdog to investigate possible ONS data leaks

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The UK's financial watchdog has been asked to investigate whether official economic data is being leaked before being published, a move that could be handing some investors an "inappropriate" competitive edge. 

Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, called for the Financial Conduct Authority to look into reports published earlier this week that suggested numbers from the Office for National Statistics were being leaked for "inappropriate gain in financial markets."  

Writing to FCA's chief executive Andrew Bailey, Mr Tyrie said that the watchdog "will want to consider this matter, if it is not already doing so, given one of its objectives is to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system" .

Andrew Tyrie

The letter, which was made public, follows reports that in the last year the pound has moved against the dollar just before ONS data was published and had correctly predicted the direction of the currency off the back of the release.

An analysis of trading data by The Wall Street Journal on Monday found that UK government-bond futures often move sharply in the 24 hours before sensitive economic reports are released. 

A spokeswoman for the FCA said that it would be responding in due course.  

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