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 tumbles


November was a risk-off month due to worries about growth, the Fed's hawkish tilt, and the Omicron variant.


  • There was broad-based decline in U.S. equity indices, including the S&P 500 Index.
  • Long-duration U.S. Treasury bonds gained, and short-term debt yields held steady. But riskier fixed-income assets fell.
  • Assets across Europe, including equities, underperformed.
  • The U.S. dollar mostly gained against other global currencies.
  • Commodity prices tumbled, especially crude oil.
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 November 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.