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Region: remittance revenue rises

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An economic slowdown in the United States has caused many Mexican workers to go home, while fewer leave Mexico.

Between January 2013 and the same period a year earlier, Mexican immigration to the U.S. declined by 3 percent.

Since home is farther away for Central Americans, they tend to stay in the U.S., from which they sent home $14 billion in remittances last year, up by 7 percent compared with 2011, even though unemployment rates for migrants in the U.S. have risen since the 2008 crisis, according to data from the Inter-American Development Bank.

"Changes in migration flows could translate into reductions in the volume of remittances sent from the United States to Mexico, while leading to growth in remittance flows to the rest of the region and particularly to Central America," said the IDB in a recent report.

Overall, Latin America and the Caribbean, received a total of $61 billion of remittances last year, a 0.6 percent increase.

Overall performance remains less than the 2008 level of $65 billion in remittances, which account for more than 10 percent of the national output of each of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Guatemala received $5 billion last year, a 9 percent increase; El Salvador got $4 billion, up by 7 percent, and Honduras $3 billion, an increase of 1 percent.

Nicaragua, which received $1.2 billion, was the leader in growth, at 9 percent.

Mexican workers in the US sent home $22 billion, a 2 percent drop.