The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday that a release circulating online purporting to show June inflation data, due for release on Wednesday morning, was a forgery.
“We’re aware of a fake CPI release image circulating on Twitter. It is a fake. Stay tuned for the real CPI release tomorrow at 8:30 AM ET,” the BLS wrote on Twitter.
The U.S. Labor Department agency is scheduled to release the June consumer price index report on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
U.S. stocks slumped to session lows around the time the fake release started making the rounds on social media, Bloomberg reported.
The release that circulated online Tuesday attempted to mimic the formatting of the prior month’s CPI report but with different dates and numbers. It included several indications that it was a forgery, including a chart whose numbers failed to match the text but the chart featured in the forged report did not match the text, which was one of several signs it was fabricated.
The document claimed annual inflation in June reached 10.2%, much higher than economists’ forecasts of an 8.8% jump, the Financial Times reported.
The consumer price index is expected to show a large 1.1% jump in June when the report is released Wednesday morning. The increase in inflation over the past year, meanwhile, is forecast to climb to 8.8% from 8.6%, according Wall Street analysts.
See: U.S. inflation is still rising. Can it reach 9%?
While the fake document began circulating as early as 11:30 a.m. Eastern, U.S. stocks dipped in afternoon trade in New York as the false report gained traction.
The blue-chip S&P 500 index
which had been little changed for most of the day, fell into negative territory in afternoon trade.
The S&P 500 ended the day down 0.9%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite
ended the day down 1.0%.
See: U.S. stocks stumble into the close as June inflation report looms
The June inflation report comes as the Federal Reserve steps up its efforts to restrain inflation which has reached a 40-year high.
Last month, the U.S. central bank delivered the first 0.75-percentage-point interest-rate increase since 1994 after the May CPI report showed a sharp acceleration in the rate of inflation. Economists expect another similar “jumbo” rate hike when the Fed meets at the end of the month.
The White House this week has sought to manage expectations around the June figures, acknowledging that they will be “highly elevated” albeit “backwards-looking.”