JoNova

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Inflation anyone? Christmas Cards to US and EU rise by *50%* in one year

From Australia Christmas Cards to Europe and the US were $1.60 last year.    In 2013 it’s $2.55.  I have never seen a rise like it. Back in 2000, it was just 80c each card.  Normally postage stamp prices creep up with inflation. The fit is so good, historians often track inflation through stamp prices — see here for Germany in 1923. When I wanted a monotonic rising line to “correlate” with temperatures, US stamp prices were the obvious first choice.  To give you some idea of just how well stamps and inflation go together, consider that US post is contemplating raising prices faster than inflation, and that is so unthinkable it made the news in the Wall St Journal last month. But here in Australia, this monster leap has appeared virtually without a comment…

2010 stamp compared to 2013

The new Christmas card rate depends on location (it used to be a flat rate overseas). For the sake of completeness it is now, $1.70 to New Zealand , $1.80 to Asia Pacific, $2.55 to Rest of World. Even a postcard to the US or UK is now $2.60.

In true bureaucratic form, Australia post has a handy online postage calculator, where I couldn’t find the price of Christmas stamps or postcards either. (This page is what you need.)

Does it mean much?  Who knows? Domestic stamp prices are fixed I hear, so it’s likely Australia Post is pushing up international rates more than it would if they were free to push any and all prices up. Nonetheless, the Australian CPI was just 2.2% in the last year, not 52%. (Theoretically anyway.)

By the way, the possible new US rates being discussed in the WSJ:

The changes, which would go into effect Jan. 26, include raising the price of a First-Class mail single-piece letter by three cents to 49 cents. The Postal Service also proposed a one-cent increase for additional letter ounces to 21 cents and a one-cent increase for postcards to 34 cents. Letters to all international destinations are $1.15.

The Australian dollar is not that different in value to the US one, so bizarrely it is possible to send two letters to Australia for the same price as sending one back to the US. Do those letters go on the same planes?

Lucky inflation is under control that’s all I can say.

 

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Inflation anyone? Christmas Cards to US and EU rise by *50%* in one year, 7.8 out of 10 based on 30 ratings

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51 comments to Inflation anyone? Christmas Cards to US and EU rise by *50%* in one year

  • #
    ExWarmist

    The value is all in the stamp, in 2012 it was just a drawing, in 2013 it looks much more like a realistic picture, which is clearly more valuable.

    Hence the enhanced value of the new stamps will probably indicate a scenario where we are getting more value per dollar, even though the price has gone up.

    it’s all in the Hedonics.

    /sarc…

    Hmmmmm – one could also link to Shadowstats Inflation – but of course, – how could we credit shadowstats – after all, the implication is that the Government lies to the public.

    /double sarc…

    http://www.shadowstats.com/imgs/sgs-cpi.gif?hl=ad&t=

    [image added http://www.shadowstats.com/charts_republish as per shadowstats rules] ED

    51

  • #
    Annie

    Nice stamps. However, I’d better get my cards done here (UK), panic, panic, before we move Down Under! On second thoughts, why bother sending many cards; a waste of card, paper and postage.

    40

  • #
    observa

    No doubt some catchup here but is Auspost fast losing economies of scale with letter postage? Perhaps we’ll see domestic deliveries declining to 3 days a week instead of 5 now in order to prune costs. I must admit with online utilities billing and the like I don’t post letters anywhere near the numbers I used to. In fact barely at all nowadays.

    10

    • #
      Annie

      The poorer and more expensive the service, the less people will use it. On the other hand, we’ve had no end of trouble fixing everything before our move using the internet. It used to be a lot easier when you could get a quick answer by ‘phone and letter.

      For the record, I used to think Australia Post were very good; far superior to the Royal Mail in recent years. Maybe the latter are improving a bit now.

      10

    • #

      In the US, the post office, though “private”, is not allowed by law to eliminate Saturday deliveries and has not been successful in closing smaller post offices. They have to ask to increase prices. I’m not sure what happens when revenue is too low to pay workers and cover deliveries. Suppose no one even worries about that, though.

      00

  • #
    Greg Cavanagh

    I can’t remember the last time I sent a letter. Was many years ago.

    The utilities want to send either a email, or letter upon payment. I’d be happy to recieve niether. I can’ check my bank statement online. But they don’t give that option, it’s email or snail. Not neither.

    10

  • #

    I still have to drive 6km in order to buy an international stamp (eg no GST).
    I’ve just discovered we have a stash of unused aerogrammes that are years old so we’ll use them for those without email.

    20

  • #
    Tim

    The 2013 stamp is a bit too abstract. Could it be celebrating the advent of colour TV in Judea?

    40

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      I like the way that the 2010 stamp shows the Angel, the shepherds, and three sheep.

      Do you suppose that the sheep are also intended to represent the three wise men?

      In which case, could that considered as evidence of prophetic foresight, regarding membership of the Climate Council?

      40

    • #
      Allen Ford

      I notice that the sheep ranchers on the RH stamp have that head tilt so is so typical of left wingers!

      00

  • #
    Dave

    Stamp Values in Australia,

    I’ve got out-laws in China and the current rate is here for a non Xmas letter:
    Standard letter or card under 50 grams.
    1. New Zealand $1.75
    2. Asia Pacific $1.85
    3. Rest of the World $2.60

    So in each case you save 5 cents per item at Xmas (which all and sundry take advantage of).

    But the value of stamps is in rarity, and the Asia Pacific people have to buy three of the 60 cent stamps at Xmas, but the New Zealand and Rest of the World you only need one to send the letter or card.

    This is typical of Australia Post, thinking that the majority of card senders are to New Zealand or the Rest of the World not Asia Pacific. They still can’t figure that the majority of people born out of Australia are now from Asia Pacific. This is from 2006, but now Asia Pacific is dominant and letters (not so much cards) are used extensively from these communities (Internet is slowing all of them).

    So if you want to collect Xmas stamps, don’t buy the 60 cents ones, there will be 6 times as many as the other denominations. Not that you’d really get excited about it as an investment, as this little trio of 1990 (23 years after an investment of $1.61) Xmas stamps are now worth $3.14 today.

    But it’s a lot better than spending $20,000 on a solar panel Green Roof top thingy that will probably be worthless after 15 years. :)

    30

    • #
      Richard

      But the value of stamps is in rarity, and the Asia Pacific people have to buy three of the 60 cent stamps at Xmas, but the New Zealand and Rest of the World you only need one to send the letter or card.

      ??? What do you mean? Asia Pacific people buy one stamp ($1.85, or $1.80 at Xmas) the same as everyone else. They don’t have to buy three stamps at all. And in any case, 3x60c domestic stamps don’t add up to $1.80 of international postage in any case. GST, you see.

      This is typical of Australia Post, thinking that the majority of card senders are to New Zealand or the Rest of the World not Asia Pacific.

      Relative postage prices by region have nothing to do with assumptions about the number of people in Australia from each region, and everything to do with the cost of delivering mail to each region.

      00

  • #
    Joe Lalonde

    Jo,

    I have been doing a great deal of studying in this area in the last year or so.
    Inflation of currencies and prices while our purchasing power of the currency is deflating.
    The wages have NOT been rising with inflation which is creating a huge problem as debt is all that is left in our current market of borrowing and promising to pay in the future.
    The middle class is becoming crushed into the poor class out of a private banking system that is totally driven by profits with no concern of what it is doing to economies.

    I drafted a letter to our minister of finance in Canada about this crisis that is occurring…but the return reply was of how they have the economy under control and there is no problem. (Passing the buck to the next poor elected fool)The banking system is so interlinked in trading with each other that any world crisis effects all the banking system. Government programs of infusing billions of dollars to the banks is not working and they still are on the verge of collapsing. 320 banks in the US have still collapsed in the last 4 years. With the economy in the crapper, many more governments and cities are in heavy debt with no citizens able to pay it back due to inflation sucking away purchasing power.

    There is a great deal of manipulation going on to make everything LOOK rosy when in actual fact, we are in deep, deep trouble…especially with retirement coming in for many that will not enjoy this due to deep government debt to the banking system.

    60

    • #
      Richard

      I guess that’s what happens when private corporate bankers are given the power to create fiat money out of thin air via the fractional reserve system and loan that money out to governments and people with interest attached thereby making debt inherent in society and mathematically impossible to pay-off. It’s why we have a sovereign debt crisis. This currency devaluation the whole world appears to be experiencing on some level due to this never-ending money-creation shows no signs of slowing either and I think more people will start rushing to buy gold and silver as they lose faith in our funny money. Every fiat currency since time immemorial has eventually collapsed and I fear the same fate awaits us. Just a matter of time surely.

      10

  • #
    pat

    yikes. i buy hand-made cards from an elderly acquaintance, at a premium price &, unfortunately, they always go over min weight, so that would mean $5.10 postage for each card sent overseas!

    of course they do:

    1 Nov: ABC: Bill Shorten says Labor wants carbon tax replaced by ETS
    ***Mr Shorten says Labor does not have any faith that there is credible science behind the Coalition’s Direct Action policy.
    “No credible expert argues that the Coalition’s Direct Action policies will work; instead they are Tony Abbott’s policies to pay taxpayer money to big polluters,” he said…
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-01/bill-shorten-says-labor-wants-carbon-tax-replaced-by-ets/5064352?google_editors_picks=true

    ***as opposed to the science of a carbon dioxide tax?

    now off to the tennis.

    20

  • #
    Mr Farnham

    You know that’s actually a 96% rise, don’t you? Also, why should the postal service be concerned with how much a collector would pay for a mass produced stamp? Most people I know would use them to actually post things, believe it or not.

    10

  • #
    Joe Lalonde

    Jo,

    Have you ever understood the economic system we have created?
    It is still pure theory that we live in everyday.

    Have you noticed that no other species on this planet or in space claims ownership except us?
    And who takes the most advantage of ownership and TELLS YOU your worth?

    In the real world, survival is what is important for a species.
    In our world trinkets keeps the system going until “debt due us part” with created currencies and values…

    Propagandized since birth makes any other system alien to us…

    10

  • #
    DayHay

    I think you can upload a file of addresses to a USA based place like Uprinting.com and they will print and mail out your cards. I did not check the price, but it has to be cheaper than your stamps. Just a thought. Another example of government raising a tax to the point where reasonable people take the time and energy to avoid it.

    20

    • #

      That’s an interesting thought. Not all such businesses do greeting cards, some have minimums and a few are multi-level marketing, but it might work out to be cheaper. Watch for the government to tax or otherwise increase the cost in the future, of course!

      00

  • #
    john robertson

    Get used to it.
    the klepto’s are desperate, they owe more money/wealth than ever has existed.
    Tough choice, accept responsibility or steal more.
    Inflation is how the kleptocracy steals the residual wealth of people who did not buy into their schemes.”We are from the government, we are here to help you”; remain poor and beholden.
    Government has almost destroyed the unit of exchange,a necessary fiction for easy trade of goods and services, the collapse of the unit (dollar) will not stop trade.
    We will find new units, but trade will constrict and stutter as trust is lost.
    Sort of like the “economic recovery” in North America.

    10

  • #

    I realized I had not explained my interest in this, so I’ve fleshed out the micro post and added some links…

    ” I have never seen a rise like it. Back in 2000, it was just 80c each card. Normally postage stamp prices creep up with inflation. The fit is so good, historians often track inflation through stamp prices — see here for Germany in 1923. When I wanted a monotonic rising line to “correlate” with temperatures, US stamp prices were the obvious first choice. To give you some idea of just how well stamps and inflation go together, consider that US post is contemplating raising prices faster than inflation, and that is so unthinkable it made the news in the Wall St Journal last month. But here in Australia, this monster leap has appeared virtually without a comment…”

    see the post for the links.

    Check out those new potential US rates. 34 cents a postcard sounds like something from a distant era…

    10

  • #

    Forever Stamps are still the go (though not so handy if you live outside the US). I wish we had some here.

    One team are plotting some stamping-arbitrage to get rich from the Jan 26 rise.
    http://boingboing.net/2013/10/01/howto-make-200000-off-of-the.html

    10

    • #
      Sceptical Sam

      I wish we had some here.

      We can do even better than that Jo.

      You can buy Australian stamps, good for postage, at anything up to 50% below face value. Yep. That’s right. Below face value.

      Here’s one example for you.

      http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=46845

      $180 worth of Australian postage stamps for $100. That a price reduction of 44%.

      Do it my way and there is no risk – as is the case with “Forever Stamps”.

      Do it my way and you get the profit before you pay the invoice.

      Why pay the full price when you can get this sort of discount.

      00

      • #
        Sceptical Sam

        Oops, Jo That’s a bad example. They are CTO. Cancelled to order.

        Let me see if I can find a better exaple for you.

        back in a tick :-)

        00

        • #
          Sceptical Sam

          Back.

          That took two minutes.

          Here’s a better example where you save $200 off face value. $680 worth of stamps for your correspondence for $480. $200 in your pocket.

          Good for postage. Beat that.

          00

    • #
      Sceptical Sam

      This is the url for the example that I can’t seem to post above.

      http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=49640

      Sorry about the messing around.

      I shouldn’t do this after I’ve been to the races!

      00

    • #

      So far, forever stamps are handy in that with each raise in cost, you don’t have to buy “additional” stamps to cover the increase. Currently, the savings are fairly small even if you buy a hundred at a time. The last increase was 2 cents per stamp, so 100 would save $2.00. Businesses probably love it. I just like not having to buy the 2 cents stamps to combine with the 44 cent ones to make 46. Should the US experience jumps in cost like Australia, the savings could add up. Also, if your letters are over once ounce, the forever stamps only apply to the first ounce. All in all, they are less hassle than buying 46 cent stamps. (There is a down side though–I had not mailed anything that had to be weighed for quite some time. I had no idea what the stamps actually cost. I can see sticker shock when one runs out of their supply of forever stamps! :) )

      00

  • #
    Joe V.

    so bizarrely it is possible to send two letters to Australia for the same price as sending one back to the US. Do those letters go on the same planes?

    If the both went round the globe in a westerly direction though, wouldn’t they have rather further to go to get back to the US ?

    In truth I think letter post is a declining service so you are paying more than when it was a truly massive market.

    I sent my postcards from Switzerland this year, when I got back home. The only thing I posted from Switzerland was a Swiss Army Knife, which cost almost as much to post as the cost of the knife, but it would have cost me more to pay hold luggage just to get it on the plane.

    20

  • #
    Wally

    Australia post is making a loss on letter delivery (was in the Fin Review a couple of weeks ago). They make a profit on parcels. Postage has not risen for standard letters for several years, so expect that to go up soon too.

    I suspect you are seeing a catch-up of past lack-of-rises, as well as a bit of an attempt to make a few quid.

    10

  • #
    Wally

    Oh one more thing: its still quite cheap all things considered. We sent postcards from Belgium to Australia a few months ago, and it worked out to about A$3.00. Strangely in other countries we paid a lot less. I guess it depends on what they feel like charging.

    Not worth attributing to grand conspiracies though, as one of the commenters seems to think. After all, would you rather this, or have no service at all, or use (say) DHL?

    10

  • #
    Olaf Koenders

    Maybe the additional cost is for proofreading – security measures to assure no terrorist instructions are contained? Maybe the blue-suited goons at US airports need to grope them? Or certain North Korean and Chinese buildings aren’t photographed and displayed on the front of the card? Maybe something contained in the card insults the King of Malaysia?

    I’ll shut up now.

    30

  • #
    RoHa

    If that doesn’t cause Global Warming, then I’m sure nothing will.

    00

  • #
    Ian

    Australia Post is losing heaps due to emails and Skype etc. so a decision has been made to not give the usual “Christmas discount on international postage. It may come back to bite them if there is a significant swing to the use of e-cards.

    10

  • #
    Richard

    Yep, stamps are cheaper in the US. And:

    The financially troubled U.S. Postal Service lost $740 million in its third quarter that ended June 30 … the Postal Service said it still needs to save at least $20 billion annually or risk requiring a massive taxpayer bailout.

    Australia Post returns a profit, every year.

    So sure, let’s make sure Aus Post keeps the price of international mail down, and preferably below the actual cost of sending it.

    Just like they do in the US.

    00

  • #
    Michel Lasouris

    Simple answer…cancel Christmas. There, that didn’t hurt did it?

    00

  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    I buy collectable stamps at good prices for those who have grandpas’s collection in a box in a cupboard somewhere.
    Main interest is Australia 1913-1950, including the Kangaroo & Map stamps and King George V.
    email me at sherro1 at optusnet dot com dot au
    Also, I maintain a DVD of Australian stamps with 5000 individual stamps listed & illustrated & cross-referenced to the main book catalogues. A steal at $30.
    (End of free commercial. Tks Jo.)

    00

  • #
    John Brookes

    Just say “Merry Christmas” to everyone you know on Facebook. Almost free, and very fast.

    00

  • #
    Graham

    Jo, the real elephant in the room in this Australia Post scam goes like this. My late father and I often commented we had ‘caught the post’ when a letter from Brissie or London arrived at its destination in 3 days. Birthday cards between me and my brother now take 10 days – progress indeed!

    00