updated 6/24/2008 9:13:19 AM ET 2008-06-24T13:13:19

UPS Inc., the world’s largest shipping carrier, lowered its earnings expectations for the second quarter on Monday because of slowing U.S. economic growth and high fuel costs.

The Atlanta-based company said it expects earnings per share for the second quarter to be within a range of 83 cents to 88 cents, compared with the 97 cents to $1.04 the company originally anticipated.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting UPS earnings of 97 cents a share in the second quarter.

UPS, also known as United Parcel Service, said the slowing U.S. economy and record fuel prices have resulted in lower-than-expected U.S. package volume and reduced use of premium air products.

UPS’ second quarter ends June 30. It will report its results for the three-month period on July 22.

UPS is able to pass higher fuel costs on to customers in the form of a fuel surcharge on shipments. However, the surcharge increases haven’t kept pace with rapidly rising fuel prices.

In April, as part of its first-quarter earnings release, UPS lowered its earnings guidance for the year and projected the weak U.S. economy would continue to affect the company in the second quarter. It acknowledged Monday that the current quarter has been even tougher than it anticipated just a few months ago.

At the time of the first-quarter earnings release, UPS lowered its earnings expectations for the full year to between $3.90 and $4.20 a share. Previously, UPS said it expected earnings per share to be between $4.30 and $4.50 for the year.

UPS did not update the projection Monday to reflect any impact its lower expectations for the second quarter might have on its full-year results.

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