Abu Dhabi's Supreme Council for Financial and Economic Affairs on Tuesday launched a 5 billion dirham ($1.4 billion) IPO fund to strengthen the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) as a leading stock market, the emirate's media office said in a tweet.

The IPO fund will invest in five to 10 private companies per year, with a focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It will have a target ticket size of between 10% and 40% of the float, the media office added.

The Abu Dhabi stock index .ADI is the best performing market in the Gulf region this year, up 54% year to date, helped by higher oil prices, incentives to boost trading and more listings.

ADX is seeing a surge of new listings this year including companies owned by oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) and state investor Mubadala.

ADNOC Drilling listed this month and ADNOC's fertiliser joint venture Fertiglobe is seeking a listing soon.

International Holding Co, the highest valued company on the bourse this year, announced plans in August to list six companies on the stock exchange.

Abu Dhabi is trying to attract outside investors into its companies, similar to Saudi Arabia, which is also seeing a slew of listings this year including ACWA Power International's $1.2 billion IPO.

ACWA was the kingdom's biggest public share sale since Saudi Aramco's $29.4 billion IPO in 2019.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah and Saeed Azhar; editing by Kevin Liffey and Jason Neely) ((Nayera.Abdallah@thomsonreuters.com;))