The Putnam Global Risk Appetite (RA) Index is a proprietary quantitative model that aims to measure investors’ willingness to invest in risky assets, including equities, commodities, high-yield bonds, and other spread sectors. With a composite view of risk-appetite signals across a broad mix of asset types, Putnam’s RA Index provides a framework for discussing investor preferences and can signal trend changes in broad market sentiment.

Risk appetite turns lower


September was a risk-off month on higher rates, slow growth expectations


  • Among fixed-income assets, U.S. Treasury securities underperformed the most.
  • Stocks in Japan gained as U.S. — including the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite — and global equity indexes declined.
  • Non-U.S. assets were affected by a strong dollar and higher exposure to China, and parts of Europe.
  • Energy commodities were the star performers due to the energy crisis.
  • Precious metals dropped, while industrial metals were mixed.
risk key


This 10-year illustration captures the cyclicality of investors' appetite for risk.

risk key

Sept–Nov '11

Eruption and subsequent clearing of concerns over EU sovereign debt crisis, U.S. debt ceiling, and fear of China hard landing drive major risk sell-off and rally.

March '16–Jan '18

Risk assets rally amid improving commodity prices, perceived stability in China's macro data, and expectations for gradualist Fed policy.

March '20–present

The coronavirus pandemic has created swings in global risk appetite.

Source: Putnam. Data as September 30, 2021. To create the Global Risk Appetite Index, we weigh the monthly relative returns of 30 different asset classes over 3-month T-bills relative to the trailing 2-year volatility of each asset class. The higher the relative return and the lower the volatility, the greater the risk appetite; conversely, the lower the relative return and the higher the volatility, the stronger the risk aversion.