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Mexican remittances jump 7.8 percent

Mexico celebrated Cinco de Mayo and an increased flow of remittances.

Remittance flows to Mexico fared quite well last month, thanks to more people in the country being the recipients of an online money transfer, a new report indicates.

According to the Bank of Mexico, remittances from Mexicans living abroad jumped nearly 8 percent in May when compared with the same month last year.

Not only was the sheer volume of remittances more significant – as just under 7.1 million transfers were made in the month, up from 6.8 million in May 2011 – but the overall value of them rose as well. The central bank reported that remittances totaled $2.34 billion overall, a fairly significant rise from the $2 billion worth in the previous month. That means that through the first five months of the year, close to $10 billion of remittances have been sent, a clear indication that people have gone out of their way to send money to Mexico.

As for what the average value was for the typical money transfer, the Bank of Mexico said it was $329.21, slightly higher than year-ago levels and well within the total that Xoom enables its users to send.

If remittances continue to flow at their present pace, there’s a strong likelihood the total could outpace what was sent in 2011, as Dow Jones Newswires reports that $22.7 billion was sent to Mexico last year. The news agency also reports that remittances last month primarily emanated from the U.S., as many Mexicans left their native country to pursue employment opportunities on behalf of their families. Remittances typically bring in more money than tourism.

Wherever the money came from, though, more remittances will no doubt come as welcome news for the country, which has experienced some hard times economically and is still in the midst of a recession, despite being the second largest economy in Latin America.

Based on a report from the National Council on Evaluation of Social Development Policy, the World Bank reports that the number of Mexicans currently living in poverty rose by more than 3 million people between 2008 and 2010. This means that of Mexico’s 52 million people, just under half – 46.2 percent – are impoverished.

One positive development that has transpired in the intervening years as the country recovers economically are the number of people who are are dealing with more serious forms of poverty, which the World Bank defines as making less than $980 pesos a month. The dollar equivalent of that is about $76 a month. The number of people in this state fell from 10.6 percent of the population to 10.4 percent, or what equals roughly 11.7 million Mexicans. Even one person in poverty is too many, but this is a positive indication that people are doing better financially.

Statistics from the World Bank indicate that in 2011, Mexico mounted a moderate recovery, with its gross domestic product reaching an average of just under 4 percent. As the year continues, economists forecast that growth will likely average slightly less than that, but its success with exporting manufactured goods should prevent the growth rate from falling below 3.3 percent.

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