NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) - Foreign investors withdrew nearly $6 billion from emerging market equities in February, the most for any month since August 2015, helping cap a 14-month streak of inflows, the Institute of International Finance said on Thursday.
The sharp outflow in equities was the main reason for emerging markets non-resident portfolio outflows of $4.5 billion last month, in the first monthly outflows since November 2016.
The reversal coincides with the return of volatility to global markets and specifically to Wall Street. The benchmark S&P 500 index dropped almost 4 percent last month, the largest monthly drop in two years.
"Despite the pickup in (emerging market) growth and the robust investor appetite for EM assets in January, February's turbulence underscores the note of caution in our outlook for EM net capital flows," the IIF said in a statement.
The IIF estimated that net foreign investor outflows from emerging markets assets were $4.5 billion in February, with equities seeing a $5.8 billion withdrawal while portfolio debt eked inflows of $1.3 billion - a sharp decline from the $16.2 billion those attracted in January. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Daniel Wallis)