WASHINGTON — It'll cost another penny to mail a letter next year.
The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service said Thursday it will raise postage rates Jan. 27, including a 1-cent increase in the cost of first-class mail to 46 cents. It also will introduce a new global "forever" stamp, allowing customers to mail first-class letters anywhere in the world for one set price of $1.10. Currently, prices vary depending on the destination, with letters to Canada and Mexico costing 85 cents.
By law, the post office cannot raise stamp prices more than the rate of inflation, or 2.6 percent, unless it gets special permission. The post office, which expects to lose a record $15 billion this year, has asked Congress to give it new authority to raise prices by 5 cents, but lawmakers have failed to act.
Rates on shipping services, such as priority mail, will increase by an average of 4 percent.
The post office lost $5.1 billion in fiscal 2011, mostly due to a 5.8 percent decline in revenue for first-class mail.