Mexico received $5.54 billion in remittances in the third quarter this year from citizens living abroad, an increase of 2.4 percent over the same period in 2012, the central bank said Friday.

The funds that poured in between July and September put an end to four consecutive quarters of decline, Banco de Mexico said in a report.

In the third quarter, 18.8 million operations were recorded, mostly electronic, and the average amount per remittance was $292.99, lower than the same period last year.

Remittances sent to Mexico climbed last September for the second month in a row to $1.79 billion, 8.1 percent more than the amount reported for the same month in 2012.

In September, 6.2 million operations were recorded and the average remittance was $287.31, lower than the $295.66 of September 2012, Banco de Mexico said.

Last year's remittances totaled $22.45 billion, 1.57 percent below the amount chalked up in 2011.

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