The seasonally adjusted S&P Global UAE Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 57.1 in February from 56.6 in January.

The output sub-index surged to 64.6 from 62.0 in January, the highest figure since June 2019, lifted by new business, stronger client activity and marketing activities.

"Capacity pressures were apparent however, with backlogs of work rising at their fastest pace in nearly four years, as Red Sea shipping disruption fed through into transport delays," said David Owen, senior economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Attacks on vessels in the Red Sea by the Iran-aligned Houthis have disrupted global shipping since November and forced firms to re-route journeys which are longer and more expensive.

There had been no impact on the UAE so far, its trade minister said last month.

The new orders sub-index slowed to 60.4 in February, from 61.9 the month before, and while this still signals strong demand, the pace of growth was the weakest since last August, which some respondents attributed to greater competition.

Confidence in the outlook over the next 12 months accelerated to a four-month high, supported by stronger market conditions, higher profits, and new client projects, the survey said.

(Reporting by Rachna Uppal; editing by Christina Fincher)