MEXICO – The country received $ 9,293 million in remittances in the first quarter of 2020, which represented an increase of 18.36% over the same period in 2019 and without being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the central bank reported Monday.

The amount of remittances between January and March was higher than $ 7,851 million a year ago, Banco de México said in its monthly report.

The average remittance in the quarter was $ 343, 9% higher than in the same period of 2019 -when it was $ 315-, and the number of operations went from 24.94 to 27.08 million.

Most of them were by electronic transfer.

According to official figures from Banco de México, the country received $ 4,016 million in March, a figure 49% higher than the $ 2,694 million in February.

Between February and March, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic had already spread throughout much of the United States, leading to the paralysis of certain activities and the loss of jobs.

The restrictions are imposed on recreational and tourist travel, but trade is not affected.

Mexico currently has 24,905 coronavirus cases and 2,271 deaths. While the United States is the country in the world with the most infected by adding more than a million cases and 67,000 deaths.

Remittances sent to Mexico in 2019 reached $ 36,048 million and reached a record high, with an increase of 7.04% compared to the figure registered in 2018.

Remittances, which come mainly from Mexican migrants living in the United States, represent Mexico’s second largest source of foreign exchange, after automotive exports, and constitute an important income for millions of people.

In 1995, the first year for which Banco de México offers results, remittances were $ 3,672 million (adjusted for the current exchange rate).

Since coming to power on December 1, 2018, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has highlighted the importance of remittances for hundreds of thousands of families in Mexico.

On several occasions, the president has described Mexican migrants as “living heroes” because thanks to remittances, the popular economy is helped.