Tue | Jul 7, 2020

Mexican migrants keep sending money home despite pandemic

Published:Friday | June 5, 2020 | 12:15 AM

Mexican migrants sent US$2.86 billion home to relatives living in Mexico in April, a drop of 2.6 per cent from the same month last year but still an amazing performance compared to other countries suffering the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Most Mexican migrants live and work in the United States, where unemployment has surged because of lockdowns. While Mexican migrants couldn’t keep up the torrid pace of March — when they broke records and sent home US$4 billion — they still worked wonders by falling so little in April compared that month a year ago.

In the first four months of 2020, remittances were up 12.6 percent. And given the big drop in the value of the peso so far this year, remittances sent in dollars will go much further.

Mexico’s central bank reported that the average remittance was about US$329 in April. Remittances are Mexico’s second-largest source of foreign income, behind exports.

The BBVA Mexico bank wrote in an analysis report that remittances to El Salvador and Guatemala fell far more sharply than those going to Mexico. In April, remittances sent home to El Salvador dropped by 40 per cent and those going to Guatemala declined by 20.2 per cent.

The report said there was no immediate explanation for why Mexican remittances remained so much more resilient, noting there was no clear difference in citizenship or educational levels or geographic distribution that could explain it.

“Possibly, we would have to study the characteristics of people of Mexican descent who were born in the United States as a possible important contributor to remittances,” the report stated.

– AP