U.S. Postal Service Seeks To Raise Prices in January

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service plans to raise the cost of mailing a letter in the United States by three pennies to 49 cents in January, the agency announced last Wednesday.

The plan to increase the price of stamps and other postal services is expected to raise $2 billion annually and is subject to special approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission, it said. Prices also will go up for international mail and postcards.

The Postal Service is trying to reverse years of financial losses. It is coping with massive payments into a mandatory fund for its future retirees’ health care, and with tumbling mail volumes as more Americans communicate and pay bills online.

The mail carrier lost nearly $16 billion last year and expects to lose $6 billion this year. Congress is considering a structural overhaul that would give the Postal Service flexibility with its obligations and services but lawmakers have so far failed to agree on how to do so.

The U.S. Postal Service is a semi-independent government agency that does not receive taxpayer money but depends on sales of stamps and other products to fund its operations.