Money sent home by Mexicans living abroad plunged in April by more than 18 percent compared to the same period last year, the biggest monthly fall on record, the central bank said Monday.
Remittances fell to $1.7 billion in April 2009 compared to $2.1 billion in April 2008, according to the bank. It said the U.S. recession has hurt migrants in the United States, while fewer Mexicans are heading north because of a lack of jobs and a crackdown on illegal immigration.
Last year was the first time remittances have dropped year-to-year since the bank started tracking the money 13 years ago. Mexico’s second largest legal source of foreign income after oil, remittances plunged 3.6 percent to $25 billion in 2008 compared to $26 billion in 2007.
Remittances for the first four months of 2009 have dropped more than 8 percent, totaling $7.2 billion compared to $7.9 billion for the same period last year.
The global financial crisis has caused remittances to fall worldwide. Mexico is the world’s third largest receptor of remittances, after India and China. Nearly 12 million Mexicans live in the United States.