Economies such as China and India were presenting opportunity to investors just a year ago, but now the exchange traded funds (ETFs) that track these countries are telling another story as investors pull their assets out.

Pamela Sampson for Associated Press reports that tensions in the Middle East are dragging on and as this news mixes with the discontent over escalating food prices and lagging living standards, investors are increasingly joining a fast-growing exodus from emerging markets in search of safer pastures. [Vietnam ETF Loses in February.]

According to fund tracker EPFR Global, fund managers and other investors yanked $5.45 billion from emerging markets funds in China, India, Brazil and elsewhere in the second week of February and placed it in equity funds of advanced economies. [Emerging Markets ETFs: Time to Write Them Off?]

It’s a big turnaround from the market’s crash in 2008: now the United States and Europe are the safe-havens of choice for investors seeking exposure to equities.

So far this year, investors have investing $47 billion in U.S., European, Japanese and global equity funds — $29 billion of it into the U.S alone.

But are emerging markets finished? Not by a long shot. These economies still boast big potential for growth, and the long-term outlook doesn’t appear to have changed. But for now, these markets may not be where risk-averse investors want to be.

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.