Money transfers to Mexico see record surge in March

Money transfers to Mexico see record surge in March

Mexicans received more than $4 billion in remittances from the United States in March, a 49 percent increase from the $2.7 billion sent in February, marking the biggest month-to-month increase on record.

The February-to-March spike in remittances — money sent to friends and family abroad by U.S. residents — was the single largest month-to-month rise since at least 1995, the earliest year when data is available from the country's central bank, the Banco de México.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador referenced the surge in remittances at his daily press conference Tuesday, framed as part of his commemoration of Cinco de Mayo.

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"That's why we also want to thank Mexican migrants today, because yesterday the data was released that remittances grew in March, reaching $4 billion," said López Obrador.

According to Banco de México's numbers, the total number of remittances through any means — electronic transfers, money orders, or cash and kind — grew to more than 10.6 million individual operations, from 8.4 million operations a month prior.

Electronic transfers, which account for the vast majority of cross-border transactions, also grew most significantly, to 10.5 million operations, from 8.3 million in February.

The amount sent through electronic transfers remained relatively stable, averaging $377 in March and $319 in February.

Money orders, the preferred remittance method for communities that don't have access to banking, accounted for 17.4 million operations in March, an uptick from 16.2 million operations in February, but a decrease from the 20.2 million money orders sent to Mexico in January.

But the average amount of money sent per money order grew 24 percent, to $908 in March from $732 in February.