Thursday, May 23, 2024

2023 remittances to Mexico break records for first half of year

Remittances to Mexico hit US $30.2 billion during the first half of 2023, an annual increase of 9.9%, according to the Bank of Mexico. 

It was the highest figure for the first six months of any year since records began to be kept. Last year, 4.9 million Mexican households received US $27.5 billion dollars in remittances in the first half of the year. 

dollars to pesos
4.9 million households in Mexico receive remittances from family members working abroad. For many low-income families, it is a financial lifeline. (Concanaco Servytur)

In June 2023 alone, remittances totalled US $5.6 billion, marking 38 consecutive months of growth, as well as four consecutive months in which the amount surpassed US $5 billion.

Although June’s figure represents an annual increase of 8.3%, it is lower than in May, when remittances hit a record of US $5.7 billion for the month of May. 

“May usually shows a rebound due to Mother’s Day, [as mothers] are the main recipients of remittances,” Jesús Cervantes González of the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies said.

Head of the México Cómo Vamos think-tank Sofía Ramírez, told the newspaper El Economista that remittances can represent up to one third of a household’s earnings for low-income families in Mexico. However, with the rise in value of the Mexican peso, remittances are no longer going as far as they did.

Migrant workers
Mexicans in the United States account for 95% of total remittances to the country. (Tim Mossholder/Unsplash)

The average remittance to Mexico is US $391 per month, currently worth about 6,595 pesos. In June, when the peso was worth US $17.42, that same remittance amount was worth 6,811 pesos. 

“As much as I try to stretch [the money], it’s not enough now,” Mexican mother of two Adriana Sánchez told the news agency Reuters.

Meanwhile, Mexican nationals working in the U.S. are battling their own financial problems, as inflation has made their own prices higher and unemployment in the U.S., which rose from 3.4% to 3.7% in June, has made jobs somewhat scarcer. 

Manuel, a 42-year-old cleaner in California, told Reuters that he used to send US $100 per week to family in Mexico. But the rent on the room he shares with two others recently went up, and now he can only manage to send US $70 to US $80 per week.

“What more can you ask for than to look after your family?” he said. “But there’s not always work here, and less so for those of us who don’t have papers.”

Millions of Mexicans live and work in the United States, the country responsible for more than 95% of remittances sent to Mexico, according to 2021 statistics compiled by the U.S. think-tank The Wilson Center. 

With reports from El Economista and Reuters

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