U.S. Postal Service says stamp prices to go up 1 cent next year


* Consumers can still use 45-cent stamps after price changes

* USPS says will offer $1.10 global Forever stamp next year

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The cost of sending a letterin the United States will go up by a penny next year, thecash-strapped U.S. Postal Service said on Thursday.

"Forever" stamps will cost 46 cents starting on Jan. 27, theagency said. Consumers can use those stamps to mail 1-ounceletters anywhere in the country. As the name implies, they arealways valid, even after stamp prices rise.

The Postal Service will also offer a new, global Foreverstamp starting next year, which customers can use to sendletters anywhere in the world for a set price of $1.10.

The struggling mail agency is facing a cash crisis. Mailvolumes have plummeted as Americans turn to onlinecommunications, and the agency has defaulted twice in recentmonths on payments required by Congress.

The agency relies on the sale of stamps and other products,rather than taxpayer dollars, to fund its operations.

Domestic stamp prices rose by 1 cent last January to 45cents.

Consumers can purchase the 45-cent Forever stamps until thenew price takes effect in January.

The global Forever stamp would boost the cost to mail aletter by 5 cents for most international destinations. The costto send a letter to Canada or Mexico using a global Foreverstamp would rise by 25 cents. The cost to mail a postcard alsowill go up by 1 cent to 33 cents.

Postal officials have asked Congress to allow the agency toraise stamp prices beyond inflation, end Saturday mail deliveryand make other changes. The agency lost $5.2 billion in theperiod from April to June.

Lawmakers have been grappling for more than a year with waysto help the Postal Service return to profitability, but have yetto agree on how to revamp the agency. Congress is expected totake up postal legislation after the Nov. 6 election.

(Reporting By Emily Stephenson; Editing by Peter Cooney)

((Emily.Stephenson@thomsonreuters.com)(202 354 5823))