Remittances totaling US $27.56 billion were sent to Mexico in the first half of the year, a figure that represents a new record for the January to June period.
Central bank data shows that remittances — which are mainly sent electronically by Mexican workers in the United States — rose 16.6% in the first half of the year from $23.65 billion in the same period of 2021.
The bank Banorte said the annual growth “is even more notable when considering some tentative signals of a slowdown” in the United States.
In June, remittances totaled $5.15 billion — a 15.6% annual increase — and were received by some 4.9 million Mexican households. It was the second consecutive month that Mexicans working abroad sent over $5 billion home.
Alberto Ramos, chief Latin America economist at Goldman Sachs, said the United States government’s generous fiscal support and a “competitive” dollar-to-peso exchange rate contributed to the high level of remittances in the first half of the year. A greenback was worth about 20.4 pesos on Monday afternoon.
The 12-month figure for remittances to the end of June was also a record at just over $55.5 billion. The figure represents just over 4.2% of Mexico’s gross domestic product, according to Ramos, and is almost double the revenue brought in from crude oil exports, which totaled $30.2 billion in 12 months.
Ramos said the “solid flows of remittances” have helped Mexico’s current account and supported private consumption, especially that of low-income families, “who have a high propensity to spend and are the main recipients of the transfers.”
If remittances remain at the level registered in the first half of the year, 2022 will be the best year ever for incoming monetary transfers. A new calendar year record was set last year when over $51.5 billion in remittances flowed into the country. Banorte is forecasting remittances will total $56.5 billion in 2022.
The newspaper El Financiero reported that over $154 billion in remittances has been sent to Mexico since President López Obrador took office in December 2018. The president has characterized Mexicans working abroad as “heroes.”
Remittances sent to Mexican families are particularly valuable right now as inflation is at a two-decade high of 8.16%. López Obrador has predicted that inflation will begin to moderate in October or November, but the Mexican economy could subsequently fall into recession, according to Moody’s Analytics.