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Remittances to El Salvador Surge to Record High in 2016


FILE - United States one dollar bills are seen on a light table at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, Nov. 14, 2014.

Remittances to El Salvador jumped by 7.2 percent in 2016 compared to the same period a year earlier, reaching the highest level in the country's history and marking the biggest increase in a decade, El Salvador's central bank reported Monday.

Remittances, which mostly come from the United States and underpin the impoverished Central American country's economy, totaled $4.58 billion in 2016.

"The accumulated [amount] between January and December 2016 constitutes the highest amount in the history of remittances received in El Salvador and the highest growth rate in the last 10 years," the bank said in a statement.

The Salvadoran government has said it is working with Central America and Mexico to defend immigrants from threats by new U.S. President Donald Trump, who has said he will build a border wall with a remittance tax.

Official figures indicate that remittances represent 17.1 percent of El Salvador's economy.

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