-- Mailing a letter will cost you just a little bit less starting this weekend.
The U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday that a first-class stamp for a 1-ounce letter will cost two cents less, down to 47 cents, beginning Sunday. Postcard stamps will also be 1 cent cheaper, at 34 cents, while international stamps will drop 5 cents to $1.15.
The reason for the change is that a temporary rate increase the Postal Service was allowed to put in place in January 2014 is now going away. The Postal Service was allowed to charge more for stamps to offset a massive budget shortfall caused, in part, by the 2007-2009 recession, which it estimates cost the agency more than $7 billion in revenue in 2009 alone.
Postal officials wanted to keep stamp prices at their current levels, estimating the price reduction will cost the Postal Service $2 billion in revenue annually, but its regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission, declined the request.
"Given our precarious financial condition and ongoing business needs, the price reduction required by the PRC exacerbates our losses," Postmaster General and CEO Megan Brennan said in a release. The Postal Service reached its $15 billion borrowing limit with the Treasury department in 2012.
The agency has relied on raising rates on its package business to help with the red ink. Financials for the Postal Service in the most recent three-month period showed the first quarterly profit since 2011, earning $307 million, compared with a loss of $754 million in the same period a year earlier.