The South African rand strengthened more than 1% against the dollar on Thursday, helped by dollar weakness in the run-up to a closely-watched U.S. inflation reading and strong local mining and manufacturing figures.

At 1200 GMT, the rand traded at 18.7700 against the dollar, up around 1.2% on its previous close but still down almost 5% so far this month.

The dollar was last trading around 0.3% weaker against a basket of global currencies.

"The rand continues to suffer wild waves, where it underperforms for weeks on end, and then similarly outperforms for weeks," Rand Merchant Bank analysts said in a research note.

"Day-to-day movements have generally not been extreme, but the moves accumulate quickly: the past three months have seen ranges... usually only seen in crises," they added.

Casparus Treurnicht, portfolio manager at Gryphon Asset Management, said the rand's strong gains were in line with trends seen in other commodity-based currencies like the Australian dollar.

Traders will pore over U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) data due out at 1230 GMT as it could influence the Federal Reserve's interest rate path, and any signs that inflationary forces are easing could bring further positives for the rand, Treurnicht added.

Markets are pricing in a more than 50% chance that the Fed is done with interest rate hikes this year as inflation has moderated, but those bets could change depending on Thursday's CPI figures.

On a positive note for the South African economy, data on Thursday showed manufacturing output rose 5.5% year on year in June, more than expected, and that mining output rose 1.1% year on year in June whereas a small contraction was predicted.

On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the blue-chip Top-40 index last traded 0.8% stronger. South Africa's benchmark 2030 government bond was also stronger, the yield down 7.5 basis points to 10.140%.

(Reporting by Tannur Anders Editing by Alexander Winning)