>> Wednesday, January 28, 2009
From an Associated Press article by Julie Watson posted on TheNews.com.mx:
The money sent home by Mexican migrants fell in 2008 for the first time on record, the Banco de México said Tuesday.
Remittances, Mexico's second-largest source of foreign income after oil, plunged 3.6 percent to $25 billion in 2008 compared to $26 billion for the previous year, the central bank said.
The percentage drop is nearly twice what the government had expected for the year, and central bank official Jesús Cervantes said the decline will likely continue this year.
Experts blame a crackdown on illegal immigration that has stemmed the flow of those heading north to seek work as well as the U.S. recession, in which many Mexicans, especially construction workers, have been laid off.
It was the first time remittances have fallen year-to-year since the bank started tracking the money 13 years ago.
Reduced remittances are combining with a slide in exports to slow the Mexican economy, which is expected to stagnate or even contract this year. Mexico sends 80 percent of its exports to the United States.
"It's definitely another sign that Mexico is receiving a shock from the U.S. recession through its trade ties to it, and we expect the economy to be in recession this year," said Jimena Zúñiga, an economist at Barclay's Capital in New York.