Remittances sent by Mexicans working abroad - mostly in the United States - hit a record-high US $3.09 billion in May, up 19.8% over May last year. The amount was 17% higher than the previous record of $2.6 billion that was set last October.
The average remittance was $323, and there were almost 9.6 million operations over the fifth month of the year. It was the first time monthly remittances have surpassed the $3-billion mark since the Bank of México started keeping records in 1995.
One financial analyst expects remittance levels will remain "solid" in the short term, given the healthy growth of employment in the United States.
"We expect that the growth of remittances . . . will stabilize at about 5% to 7% per year," said Alberto Ramos of Goldman Sachs, noting that families with the lowest incomes have benefited most from the flow of cash from abroad.
When the peso's 3.6% loss in value since May is taken into consideration, the real increase in the value of remittances is 24.3% on an annual basis, he said.
Remittances between January and May amounted to almost $12.9 billion, another record and a figure that represents yearly growth of 11.5%, the largest since 2006.
Fear over U.S. immigration policy and a greater number of jobs in the U.S. are seen as the principal reasons for growth in remittance money.
Remittances reached a historic level last year, coming in at over $28.7 billion. If the growth rate seen so far this year continues, 2018 could break that record.
According to a study carried out by the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies (Cemla), Mexico could receive between $30.2 and $30.5 billion during 2018, an increase of 5% to 6% over 2017.El Financiero article translated and edited by Mexico News Daily.