Remittances sent by Mexicans living abroad rose 4.81 percent to $13.71 billion in the January-July period, compared to the same period in 2011, the Bank of Mexico said.

Mexico received $1.86 billion in remittances in July, a figure that was down 10.8 percent from the same month last year, the central bank said.

Most of the remittances are sent from the United States, where an estimated 12 million Mexicans live, with about half of them being illegal immigrants.

Some 97.5 percent of the remittances received during the first seven months of the year came in the form of electronic transfers, with the rest being received via money orders and in cash.

A total of 42.3 million transactions were executed and the average electronic transfer was $323, the central bank said.

The states receiving the biggest shares of remittances, according to figures from the first half of 2012, are Michoacan, with 9.9 percent; Guanajuato, with 9.5 percent; Jalisco, with 8.5 percent; and Oaxaca and Puebla, with 6.6 percent shares each, the Bank of Mexico said.

Remittances sent by Mexicans living abroad are the country's second-largest source of foreign exchange and help cover the living expenses of millions of people. EFE