Today, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) of the United Kingdom accidentally published potentially market-moving jobs and pay data 10 minutes before its actual schedule.
Official data regarding the unemployment rate and earnings growth of the United Kingdom for February was published at around 9.20 in the morning UK time today. It was meant to be released at 9.30.
In a statement, the ONS disclosed: “Due to a problem with the release process some data were released early. In accordance with standard release practices, we, therefore, published all data immediately.”
A spokesperson said that the early publication was because of an “error” and an “oversight on our part.” The spokesperson said that it was too early to comment on whether there would be a probe regarding the matter.
A senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, Laith Khalaf, stated: “The timely release of market-sensitive data is a serious matter.”
The early release has the possibility to prompt an uneven market where some investors and traders have access to the official data before the others.
However, Khalaf stated: “While this slip from the ONS may have created brief panic for short term traders, for long term investors, 10 minutes is not a material time frame.”
The chief market analyst at trading platform XTB, David Cheetham, said that the early release had the impact of “catching some traders off guard.”
A financial analyst with SpreadEx, Connor Campbell, said that that the “ONS bungling out the jobs report 10 minutes early” could “potentially have caused issues for plenty of traders.”
He added: “That sterling is so Brexit-focused at the moment perhaps saves the ONS’s blushes somewhat,” Campbell said. “In a different week, and with a different set of figures, however, it may have been far more disastrous.”
The data of the ONS was considered to better as compared to the forecasts of economists. Last month, the earnings including bonuses rose by 3.4 percent, against a forecast of only 3.2 percent. Also, the rate of unemployment unexpectedly dropped to 3.9 percent from 4 percent.
Cheetham stated: “In terms of market reaction there has been a little pop higher in the pound, but the markets remain far more concerned with the latest on the Brexit front.”