Sunday, April 19, 2009

Remittances from Abroad Fell 11.4% in February

The receipt of remittances from Guatemalans abroad fell 11.42 percent in February, adding to the 8 percent drop in January, according to data released today by the Bank of Guatemala (Banguat).

In January, Guatemalans abroad sent U.S. $290 million back home to Guatemala, 8 percent less than the same month of 2008. In February, remittances only reached U.S. $281.9 million, or 11.4 percent less than in the same period last year.

The drop is a result of the economic crisis of United States. 95 percent of the 1.3 million Guatemalans living abroad live in the United States. 60 per cent of those are illegal.

Remittances are the second-largest source of foreign exchange for Guatemala. Last year, remittances totaled $4.314 billion.

On a positive note, exports grew by 4.1 percent in the first quarter and tourism increased by 2 percent. However, imports in the same period fell 29.46 percent, which an indicator of the economic slowdown in Guatemala.

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