GLOBAL ECONOMY

Mexicans in U.S. sent home $5.7 billion in remittances in first 3 months of 2015

MIAMI - MAY 11:  Rachel Garcia takes cash from Ramon Cruz (R) for a $300 wire transfer via Western Union to Cuba, which Cruz left three years ago, the money will be received by his mother still living on the island May 11, 2004 at a Check Cashing USA store in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida. The Cuban government announced that many sales in U.S. dollars would be suspended indefinitely. The government blamed the new measure on the Bush Administration's decision last week to tighten trips and cash remittances to the island. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI - MAY 11: Rachel Garcia takes cash from Ramon Cruz (R) for a $300 wire transfer via Western Union to Cuba, which Cruz left three years ago, the money will be received by his mother still living on the island May 11, 2004 at a Check Cashing USA store in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida. The Cuban government announced that many sales in U.S. dollars would be suspended indefinitely. The government blamed the new measure on the Bush Administration's decision last week to tighten trips and cash remittances to the island. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)  (2004 Getty Images)

Mexican living in the United States sent $5.7 billion in remittances back home in the first three months of 2015 alone, the highest amount of money sent to the country by expats since 2008, Banco de Mexico reported.

The amount of money that Mexicans living abroad sent to their family and friends back home between January and March of 2015 is 5 percent higher than it was in the same period last year, with remittances in March increasing 7.6 percent to $2.26 billion.

This averages out to each Mexican family living in the U.S. sending around $312 back to Mexico in March – or around $9 more than in March of 2014. The only time this number was higher was in July 2012, when Mexican families sent home an average of $314 that month.

"We hope that the slight increase in remittances in 2015 gives a brighter indication for growth and employment in the U.S. perspective," said Alberto Ramos, an economist at Goldman Sachs report, according to Univision.

Ramos added that "a weaker Mexican peso and low domestic inflation increase the real purchasing power in local currency remittance flows."

Banco de Mexico reported that 97 percent of remittances to the country came from the United States, with the other 3 percent coming from Canada, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Spain. The U.S. states where the majority of remittances came from were California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, Georgia and New York.

Some 11 million Mexicans live in the United States and many of them work in the construction sector. In this economic context, remittances are the main source of foreign exchange in Mexico, after oil and foreign direct investment, and also represent a vital income for millions of people.

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