Mexicans living and working abroad, the vast majority of them in the United States, sent home a total of $11.16 billion in the first six months of this year, an increase of 4.7 percent from the same period in 2010, the central bank said.

During the first half of the year, a total of 34.2 million transfer operations were carried out, 1.9 percent more than during the same period the year before, and 98.4 percent of them were electronic transfers, Banco de Mexico said on its Web page.

The average remittance was $326.51, compared with $317 in the first half of 2010.

Separately, analysts with the Mexican unit of Spanish banking giant BBVA said that June marked the ninth consecutive month of increased remittances.

The bank noted, however, that remittances remain below the record level reached in 2006.

It added that the dollar-peso exchange rate so far this year has not been favorable for families receiving remittances.

The northern Mexican states have benefited most from the transfers, mainly Sonora, Baja California, Durango and San Luis Potosi, with annual increases greater than eight percent.

"The Federal District (Mexico City) also stands out among the main recipients," said the bank.

BBVA predicted that the growth in remittances for 2011 as a whole could amount to 4.7 percent, a figure that will depend on how the U.S. economy performs in the coming months.

Mexicans are thought to represent the majority of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Remittances from migrants constitute Mexico's No. 2 source of revenue after oil exports and many households depend on those payments to meet basic expenses.

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