Where in the World is Volatility?

12/26/2012 7:00 am EST


With trading volumes down during the holidays the forex markets have been quiet-too quiet for forex traders. CNBC.com currency blogger, Kelley Holland, hunts around the world for volatile currency markets.

Currency markets have been less than volatile for some time now, and experts think the profit-denting tranquility is likely to continue. So where can a currency trader go for some action?

Emerging market currencies fit the bill for Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management. Low volatility "tends to be what happens when we have central banks pushing rates to next to nothing," she told CNBC. "In terms of trading the majors, it's time to look beyond those."

Lien is especially focused on the Mexican peso and the South Korean won-for very different reasons. Mexico is currency offering a 4.5% yield, which "in the context of what we're getting here in the US is incredibly generous," Lien says. The peso has been strong lately, but she expects the pattern to continue. "If we start to get this recovery in the US and the money they're printing that's funneled into the US economy is helping to keep demand supported, that at the end of the day could translate into a bit more demand for the peso."

The won, Lien says, is considerably less attractive, and she is looking for opportunities to buy the dollar against the Korean currency. "If everyone's call about the short yen trade is correct, Korea stands to suffer significantly," she says. A significant portion of Korea's exports go to Japan-which is widely expected to soon initiate major new monetary stimulus that is likely to weaken the yen. "If the yen is cheap, Japanese importers have less purchasing power," Lien explains. On top of all that, the dollar has been weak lately against the won, "so this could be a good entry point."

Time to get busy.

By Kelley Holland, Currency Blogger, CNBC.com

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