Weekly Chart: Remittances to Latin America

By Elizabeth Gonzalez

The “Trump effect” could lead to a record rate of remittances to Mexico this year.

Global remittance rates declined last year for the first time since 2009 but not in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2015, remittances to the region grew 6 percent from 2014, reaching $68.3 billion

Cuba saw the largest increase since the Great Recession, thanks in part to evolving U.S. relations with the island that have resulted in more Cubans emigrating—and sending money home. Remittances to Cuba went up by an annual average of $238 million per year from 2008 to 2015. 

But when it comes to remittance totals, no country can compete with Mexico where, for the first time in 2014, remittances accounted for a greater percentage of GDP than did crude oil revenues. From 2014 to 2015, remittances to the North American country grew 4.8 percent, and so far in 2016, remittances are outpacing last year’s.  

In fact, BBVA Research projects Mexicans will send home a record $26.8 billion in 2016. That’s $800 million more than the previous peak of $26 billion in 2007. The firm sites “the Trump effect” as the principal driving factor, with Mexicans fearing that the U.S. president-elect will impose restrictions on remittances to make good on his campaign pledge to build a border wall. Even before Donald Trump won the U.S. election, October’s remittances to Mexico were the highest on record for that month since 2008.

AS/COA Online charts the latest statistics for the region, highlighting Mexico’s surge.