PUTNAM GLOBAL RISK APPETITE INDEX | September 2020

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 bounces

SHORT-TERM TREND

Financial markets advance amid optimism over a COVID-19 vaccine

Risk

  • U.S. Treasuries sold off as risk assets, especially equities, advanced.
  • The rally in investment-grade credits and other assets halted as Treasury bonds declined.
  • Technology-driven indices resumed their outperformance.
  • The rally in gold prices ebbed.
  • The dollar lost ground against major currencies.

LONG-TERM CYCLE

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.

Source: Putnam. Data as August 31, 2020. 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.