San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Guatemalans Remittances Reach New Levels

GUATEMALA CITY (EFE) – Guatemalans living abroad sent home $1.94 billion in the first eight months of 2005, the Bank of Guatemala reported Friday.According to the bank, the dollar amount of remittances received in Guatemala from January through August 2005 is 17% higher than during the same period in 2004.Remittances have become a mainstay of the Guatemalan economy and are as important as coffee and sugar exports in bringing in foreign currency.Last year, remittances totaled a record-breaking $2.55 billion, compared with the $4.96 billion all exports brought in. Authorities expect remittances to reach $3 billion this year.According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 1.2 million Guatemalans live abroad, 90% of them in the United States.

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