UPDATE 1-U.S. Postal Service wants to hike stamp prices to 63 cents

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) said Friday it wants to raise the price of first-class Forever mail stamps from 60 to 63 cents to account for inflationary costs.

USPS filed notice of the proposed hike with the Postal Regulatory Commission and wants the increase to take effect Jan. 22. U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in August that inflation would cause USPS costs to exceed its 2022 budget plan "by well over $1 billion."

There will be no change to the single-piece letter and flat additional-ounce price but other prices will rise including the cost of an international letter by five cents to $1.45. Overall first-class mail prices will rise 4.2%, USPS said. DeJoy has said USPS for years had failed to charge enough for package and mail delivery.

Struggling with diminishing mail volumes despite having to deliver to a growing number of addresses, the USPS reported net losses of more than $90 billion since 2007 until August when it booked a onetime, non-cash benefit of $59.6 billion after President Joe Biden signed financial relief legislation into law.

DeJoy released a March 2021 reform plan that aims to eliminate $160 billion in predicted losses over the next decade.

DeJoy said despite reforms losses would still reach $60 billion to $70 billion over the next 10 years -- and USPS must cut $35 to $40 billion in operating costs.

"I've got to use pricing," DeJoy said in July, adding he thinks mailers "got a deal for the last 10 years and we're charging them."

USPS raised prices in July of a first-class stamp from 58 cents to 60 cents after hiking stamps by 3 cents in August 2021.

USPS is receiving $3 billion from Congress to boost electric vehicle and charging purchases. In July, USPS said it plans to buy at least 25,000 EVs. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)