Patrick Gillespie, CNN Money, January 2, 2018
Mexicans living abroad sent cash home in record numbers last year. The vast majority of the cash came from those living in the United States.
Two main forces drove the trend: Mexico’s weak currency, the peso, and President Trump’s threat to slap a tax on cash shipments, known as remittances, sent from the U.S. to Mexico.
Mexicans sent home $26.1 billion from January to November 2017, according to figures released Tuesday by the central bank of Mexico. That’s the most ever recorded and better than the $24.1 billion sent in 2016 over the same period.
Remittances are Mexico’s top source of foreign income, outpacing oil exports, which totaled $18.5 billion between January and October, according to the most recent figures available at the Bank of Mexico.
The peso plunged after Trump won the 2016 election, triggered by fears that he would tear up NAFTA, the trade agreement, or impose tariffs on Mexican exports north of the border. Those fears haven’t been realized and the peso is starting 2018 up slightly from where it began last year.
Trump specifically threatened to slap a tax on Mexican remittances to pay for his proposed border wall. Economists say that particular threat has also encouraged Mexicans to send money home before any restrictions are put in place.