South Africa's rand was little changed on Thursday as traders awaited a rate hike decision by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) later in the day.

At 0642 GMT, the rand traded at 16.9600 against the dollar, 0.03% stronger than its previous close.

The central bank will announce its latest monetary policy decision at a news conference starting around 1300 GMT.

Data from Statistics South Africa showed on Wednesday that the country's headline consumer inflation quickened to 7.6% year-on-year in October, from 7.5% in September.

The uptick in inflation supports the case for a resolute policy response from the SARB, ETM Analytics said in a research note.

A Reuters poll forecast last week that the central bank would hike its repo rate another 75 basis points to 7%.

However, the SARB's policy trajectory is inextricably linked to that of the U.S. Federal Reserve and other major central banks, which have recently signalled a slower pace of interest rate hikes, ETM said in a note.

"We, therefore, foresee a vote split 3-2 in favour of the 50 bp (basis points) hike, with such an outcome likely to be used as a guide in monetary policy going forward and also offers the SARB room to manoeuvre in case inflation expectations rise again," ETM Analytics added.

The bank has raised rates at the last six monetary policy meetings since its latest tightening cycle began in November 2021.

The government's benchmark 2030 bond was slightly stronger in early deals, with the yield down 3 basis points to 10.165%. (Reporting by Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by Kim Coghill)