Remittance payments topped the US $50 billion mark in 2021, the Bank of México reported on Tuesday.
The year’s total was $51.59 billion, a record breaking sum that is 27% higher than in 2020.
Workers abroad were slated to push the total over the 50 billion landmark after sending $46.83 billion from January through November: they did so comfortably with a further $4.76 billion in December, a 30.4% increase in annual terms.
In 2020, the total value of remittance payments was more than $10 billion lower, at $40.61 billion.
Remittance is the term for money sent home by Mexican nationals from outside of the country, typically in the United States or Canada. Many remittances are from people working and living outside Mexico and sending money home to relatives, but some experts speculate that an unknown percentage of remittances are part of money laundering schemes by criminals in Mexico.
The value of payments also grew in 2021: the average remittance was for $378, 11.1% higher than in 2020, when it was $340.
In 2020, there were 119.4 million transfers. In 2021, they climbed to 136.5 million.
President López Obrador has thanked the 38 million Mexicans in the United States for their contribution to the Mexican economy through remittance payments on various occasions. He has described those migrants as heroes and estimated that their payments benefit around 10 million families.
Remittances are Mexico’s second largest source of foreign currency after automotive exports.
An economic analyst at Banco Base, Gabriela Siller, predicted that in 2022 remittance payments would continue to grow, projecting a 13.7% increase. That would mean a 2022 total of around $58.6 billion.
With reports from El País