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Originally published: 2013-01-21 12:04:36
Last modified: 2013-01-21 12:05:04

U.S. postage increases Jan. 27

by Anna Oakes

The U.S. Postal Service will increase postage prices Jan. 27, including First-Class stamps, which increase one cent to 46 cents.

Postcards increase one cent to 33 cents, while letters to all international destinations cost $1.10.

The Postal Service's "Forever Stamp" can be purchased for 46 cents and will always be good for mailing a one-ounce letter regardless of price changes. This year, the Postal Service also introduces a Global Forever Stamp for $1.10.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

The U.S. Postal Service ended the 2012 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012) with a record net loss of $15.9 billion, compared to a net loss of $5.1 billion for the same period the previous year, the agency reported. The loss included expenses of $11.1 billion related to two payments to prefund retiree health benefits. The Postal Service, which is required by law to prefund these obligations, was forced to default on these payments, it said.

Revenue from Postal Service package business increased by $926 million, or 8.7 percent, on a volume increase of 244 million pieces compared to the same period in 2010-11, USPS said.

"Higher consumer spending, higher e-commerce retail sales plus increased marketing efforts drove much of the growth in this segment of the Postal Service business during the last year," USPS said.

But the growth in the package business is not enough to offset the declines in First-Class Mail and Standard Mail, according to the Postal Service.

First-Class Mail revenue, which peaked in 2007, dropped 3.9 percent while Standard Mail decreased 4.3 percent compared to the previous year.