WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. Postal Service Wednesday said it had proposed a higher than normal price hike due to "extraordinary and exceptional circumstances."
"The Postal Service is filing a price increase above the consumer price index due to extraordinary and exceptional circumstances which have contributed to continued financial losses," the USPS said in a statement.
The Postal Service said it lost $15.9 billion in its last fiscal year and expects to lose "roughly $6 billion in the current fiscal year."
Currently, the service said it had an "intolerably low level of available liquidity." It was recommending new pricing to the Postal Regulatory Commission before a meeting of the PRC scheduled to take place Sept. 26.
In a statement, the USPS said it had recommended nudging the price of a First-Class stamp closer to 50 cents -- raising the price of a single-piece letter sent First Class from 46 cents to 49 cents.
New rates, which USPS proposed go into effect Jan. 26, would include a charge of $1.15 for letters to any international destination and a 1 cent increase in postcard delivery to 34 cents.
The price hikes were also proposed for standard mail, periodicals, package services and extra services, the postal service said.
"Of the options currently available to the Postal Service to align costs and revenues, increasing postage prices is a last resort that reflects extreme financial challenges," said UPS Board of Governors Chairman Mickey Barnett in a letter to customers.
"However, if these financial challenges were alleviated by the timely enactment of laws that close a $20 billion budget gap, the Postal Service would reconsider its pricing strategy the Postal Service will be able to maintain and continue the development of postal services of the type and quality which America needs," he said.
The price changes would raise an additional $2 billion annually, the postal service said.