The Bank of England looks set to stick to its ultra-loose monetary policy on Thursday to support a weak economy, with the focus shifting to whether the central bank will implement another round of gilt buying in May.

This month marks the third anniversary of the Bank's decision to cut rates to a record low and start quantitative easing.

In February, the Bank approved another 50 billion pounds of gilt purchases, taking QE to a total 325 billion pounds by May.

No economists polled by Reuters last week forecast any change to this or the record-low 0.5 percent interest rate.

Britain's economic outlook is broadly unchanged, with the Bank forecasting sluggish growth for most of 2012 and a fall in inflation to its 2 percent target by the end of the year from its current level of 3.6 percent.

That does not mean there will be complete consensus on the nine-member Monetary Policy Committee, and the discussion is increasingly turning to whether there should be more QE in May.

There does appear to be a growing division on the committee, said Investec economist Philip Shaw.

MPC members Adam Posen and David Miles voted for an extra 75 billion pounds of QE last month, rather than the 50 billion decided on, while some others saw a case for no more QE at all.

Since then, external member Martin Weale, who voted for rate rises in the first half of last year, has said he sees no case for a May increase in QE.

The main economic developments since February have been a softening in monthly purchasing managers' surveys after they rebounded strongly in January, and a surge in oil prices that has pushed retail petrol prices to a record high.

While the Bank has predicted choppy growth this year, the policy implication of the rise in oil prices is less clear-cut, Shaw said.

Oil ... certainly doesn't help to achieve policy unanimity, Shaw said. History suggests they will be more guarded about easy policy if oil prices are high - though you can argue that the inflation effect is temporary and the more long-lasting effect is to dampen growth.

Thursday's policy decision is due at 12 p.m. British time. Minutes to the MPC's meeting will be published on March 21.

(Reporting by David Milliken)