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Fedex hiking ground shipping rates almost 5% in 2013

FedEx Corp , the No. 2 U.S. package-delivery company, said on Friday it will raise its average rates for ground shipments and home deliveries by 4.9 percent beginning in January.

The increase reflects a 5.9 percent raise in published rates at FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery, offset by a lower fuel surcharge.

The move comes two weeks after larger rival United Parcel Service Inc disclosed a 4.9 percent hike for its 2013 shipping charges.

Results of both companies in recent months have been pinched by an uncertain global economy, which has  eaten into the overall volume of goods being shipped and caused customers to choose less expensive shipping methods.

FedEx next month is scheduled to report results for its third fiscal quarter, with analysts braced for a 10 percent drop in per share earnings, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.