The biggest increase in cash remittances by workers abroad since March 2006 has been attributed to uncertainty over the effects of a Donald Trump presidency in the United States.
The Bank of México reported yesterday that remittances from Mexicans working outside the country soared 24.7% in November compared with the same month in 2015, totaling US $2.36 billion.
The average remittance was $318, up 12.8% and the highest level seen since June 2012.
BBVA Research, a division of the financial services group BBVA, said the main reason for November’s hike was Trump’s threat to impose restrictions on such cash transfers, most of which are sent by Mexicans working in the U.S.
Faced with the possibility of restrictions they have decided to increase the amounts sent before any such measures are put in place, the financial institution said.
BBVA cited two other possible reasons: the sharp decline in the value of the peso against the dollar, which has given Mexicans outside the country a stronger motivation to send more, and a U.S. unemployment rate that in November saw its lowest level since 2007, providing more work opportunities for migrants.
It expects the trend to continue, with higher remittances in both December and January.
As of November 30, remittances were up 9% over the same period in 2015 to $24.62 billion, the central bank reported. Cash dispatched from abroad has become one of Mexico’s principal sources of foreign income, exceeding that of the petroleum industry.
One recipient of a monthly remittance told Reuters that there would be more poverty without the movement of cash from the north.
“If they return our migrants, there’ll be more poverty, because up there they have work and help maintain us,” said Mónica Arroyo, who lives in a village near Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo. “Here there is no work.”
Arroyo’s daughter is an undocumented restaurant worker in Clearwater, Florida, who sends her mother $200 a month, cash she depends on.