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Commerce Department officials said today that advance word on the gross n

July 18, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Commerce Department officials said today that advance word on the gross national product leaked to the financial community about 17 hours before it was officially released this morning.

Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige said the leak was being investigated by the department’s inspector general.

″We have some leads on it and I think we will see some action,″ he told reporters.

The government goes to great lengths to ensure that word on its economic reports is not released prematurely because of the impact on financial markets.

Commerce Undersecretary Sidney Jones said the department had learned that ″the financial community gained access to (the GNP number) about 1:30 or 2 p.m. EDT″ Wednesday.

Jones said that while there are often rumors that the government’s statistics have been leaked prematurely, most of those accusations prove to be baseless.

″But, this time, we do have some definitive information and I believe we will have some information for you very shortly once it is nailed down,″ he told reporters.

Niether man said he had any evidence of whether advance word on the GNP report had affected financial trading Wednesday afternoon although there was a rally in the New York bond market late in the day. Bonds often gain investor favor after government reports of weak economic activity in the belief that this means interest rates will fall.

The department reported today that the GNP rose at a weak annual rate of 1.7 percent in the April-June quarter.

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