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U.S. exploring ways to modify release of sensitive economic data: WSJ

(Reuters) - Federal officials are exploring ways to modify how the government releases sensitive economic data, in an effort to bring the system in line with fast-moving financial markets, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

Officials were driven by concerns that high-speed trading firms can trade on leaked market-moving numbers before other investors, the Journal said.

The discussions explored various options, including eliminating the current system, which releases data such as unemployment rate and productivity numbers via embargoed news releases to the media, according to the paper.

Officials are also exploring publishing economic data directly on the Internet, and building a single technologically secure facility for all government agencies to distribute data.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)

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