The South African rand was stronger in early trade on Thursday ahead of a key interest rate decision by the central bank amid high inflation.

At 0607 GMT, the rand traded at 18.7850 against the dollar , over 0.6% stronger than its previous close.

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

Headline consumer inflation rose to 5.9% year-on-year in October from 5.4% in September, data from Statistics South Africa showed on Wednesday, nearing the top of the central bank's target range of 3% to 6%.

Investors will focus on the South African Reserve Bank's (SARB) main interest rate decision and its Monetary Policy Committee's tone on the future rate path later in the day.

Analysts polled by Reuters predict interest rate to be maintained at 8.25%, its highest since 2009.

"Let's see the tone of the statement, the forecasts and vote split. Presumably, SARB will only pivot after the Fed," said Rand Merchant Bank analysts in a morning briefing.

South Africa's benchmark 2030 government bond was flat in early deals to 10.140%. (Reporting by Tannur Anders, Editing by Bhargav Acharya)