Remittances to Latin America and Caribbean on the rise
Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean rose to a record high in 2016 despite a decrease worldwide for two consecutive years.
A recently released World Bank report on remittances in 2016 showed that they rose in the region to $74.3 billion, a 7.4 percent increase from the previous year ($69.2 billion).
According to the Pew Research Center, Europe was the only other region in the world to see an increase, and it was a much smaller one (up 0.9 percent).
Remittances are funds or other assets sent by migrants via formal channels such as banks.
According to the report, most of the remittance dollars flowing to Latin America come from the US, which is home to two-thirds of all migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Mexico continues to receive the largest amount of remittances. In 2016, $28.6 billion in remittances flowed to Mexico (up 9.3 percent from the previous year) – a total that accounted for over a third of remittances to all of Latin America and the Caribbean. After Mexico, Guatemala ($7.5 billion), the Dominican Republic ($5.5 billion) and Colombia ($4.9 billion) received the highest amounts of remittances in the Latin America and Caribbean region in 2016.
The Pew Center said the increase in remittances to the region is primarily due to generally improved labour market conditions in the US, which has helped boost Latin American migrants’ capacity to send money home. This improvement was especially evident in sectors such as information, construction and manufacturing, industries in which many Latin American immigrants work.
Other influential factors include a strong US dollar, coupled with the depreciation of most currencies in Latin America. In Mexico, for example, the US dollar appreciated against the Mexican peso by 17.7% from 2015 to 2016, which resulted in remittances (sent in US dollars) having stronger purchasing power there.