The ONS needs urgent review - Sam Bowman comments

In response to a report in the Wall Street Journal this morning which revealed that current ONS procedure needs urgent review, Sam Bowman Executive Director of the ASI, made the following comment:

"Reports that markets are moving ahead of official ONS data releases in a way that is consistent with leaks and insider trading must be taken extremely seriously by the government and the ONS. 

"If flaws in ONS procedures are enabling market-moving leaks to take place, allowing some individuals to profit off secret information, then something has gone badly wrong. The Cabinet Office should review ONS procedures and consider substantial reforms in light of this new evidence.

"We could follow the lead of the United States, where these suspicious market movements are seldom seen, and data is released less than 24 hours after completion and statistical reports are physically delivered to the President. 

"An alternative option would be to make the process entirely open, so that the public (and the markets) can see ONS data in real-time as it is generated, and markets can price in new information immediately and openly. The ONS is already working on this, but today's findings should be an urgent call to action for them to speed up the process."

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