(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden’s press secretary, Karen Jean-Pierre, quickly brushed off the question at the end of a press conference on Tuesday. No, she said, there was no way anyone in the White House would have released the November inflation report before it was published at 8:30 a.m. There was a lot of fuss over what she saw as “small market movements.”

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But there was little to the rally in the seconds before inflation hit the Labor Department’s website.

Stock futures suddenly rose more than 1%. Treasury futures traded higher, pushing the benchmark 4 basis points lower. Those are major swings in a short period of time – on some days larger than a full session’s swing. And while that’s just one of several explanations for why traders suddenly started buying before the report was published, longtime market watchers say it should be scrutinized by regulators.

“Significant trading activity prior to market-changing news is suspicious and particularly relevant to regulatory agencies making appropriate inquiries,” said Jerome Selvers, chair of the securities regulatory and litigation practice at Pashman Steinwalder Heiden. “This is unusual, especially the reported drop in inflation, which was more than the markets expected,” he said. One can see whether it is pure or not.

Of course, if and when such an investigation occurs, it remains to be seen. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, for its part, said it was not aware of the data being released in advance.

Still, in the 60-second period before the data was released, more than 13,000 March 10-year futures contracts (when the activity was inactive) traded at auctions. Stocks and bonds rallied further immediately after the data was published, as investors speculated that slowing inflation meant the Federal Reserve would pause its tightening cycle early next year.

CME data released Wednesday showed that open interest — or the amount of new risk held by traders — in all Treasury futures contracts increased, indicating that buying activity in and around Tuesday’s inflation data was driven by new long positions rather than covering existing ones. Short.

BLS spokesman Cody Parkinson said in an email that the agency was not aware of the early release, but some government officials routinely receive the information before it is published under federal guidelines.

Read more: Big buy in Treasury futures moments before CPI release

Excluding food and energy, CPI rose 0.2% in November and was up 6% from a year ago. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.3% monthly increase.

–With help from Reade Pickert.

(Adds details on open interest showing a jump in long positions in Treasuries in the seventh paragraph)

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