Exchange traded funds that invest in perceived safe havens such as U.S. Treasuries, gold and the Swiss franc have pulled back somewhat after a big rally, although investors remain fearful over the economic recovery and Europe’s debt crisis.

These pockets of safety may lose value if the economic picture brightens, and they could be overbought, reports Jeremy Gaunt for Reuters.

“A safe asset is something that is going to be safe across economic environments,” remarked William De Vijlder, chief investment officer at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, in the report. “It means you’d better make sure your forecast is right.” [Risk Off: Gold, Silver and Treasury ETFs Outperform]

ETFs following gold, U.S. Treasuries and the Swiss currency have been among the top performers amid the recent sell-off in risk assets. Gold has corrected after a foray above $1,900 an ounce but on Friday climbed back above $1,800 after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank will consider additional steps to support the economy at its September meeting.

“It is not difficult to believe that gold could correct a reasonably good amount,” said Ashok Shah, chief investment officer at London & Capital, in the Reuters story.

The franc has also pulled back as the Swiss National Bank tries to stifle the currency’s rise, which is hurting exporters. [Swiss Franc ETF Rally]

Also, UBS announced it could begin to place temporary charges on Swiss franc deposits, reports Katharina Bart for Dow Jones Newswires.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasuries have been supported by the Fed and foreign demand, but fortunes may reverse if the economy improves, China decides to diversify away from U.S. bonds or inflation heats up.