Bank of England officials showed increased concern about oil prices and future wage inflation when they left policy steady in March, minutes to their Monetary Policy Committee meeting showed on Wednesday.

The MPC voted 7-2 to keep the quantitative easing asset purchase target steady at 325 billion pounds, with Adam Posen and David Miles again urging a rise to 350 billion.

The MPC said that the overall outlook for growth and inflation had changed little from February, when the majority voted for a 50 billion increase to 325 billion.

While it appeared more certain that underlying growth was likely to pick up in the United Kingdom in the near term, many of the risks to the outlook were still present, the minutes said, highlighting ongoing dangers from the euro zone debt crisis.

The MPC focused particularly on the risk to the economy posed by a recent rise in oil prices, which they said was not fully reflected in February's quarterly economic forecasts.

The scale of the impact of higher oil prices was hard to judge, due to opposing effects on inflation and growth.

Echoing comments by Bank chief economist Spencer Dale in a speech on Tuesday, the minutes also showed that the MPC were concerned about whether wage inflation would continue to be kept in check by high unemployment.

There was a risk that this might be a less powerful restraining force in the future, especially if another round of energy price rises were to materialise, policymakers said.

Posen and Miles argued for extra QE on the basis that it would help avoid damage to the supply capacity of the economy, and stop firms scrapping capacity.

But since the Bank increased QE last month, economists have grown increasingly doubtful that there will be any further purchases once the current round is complete in May.

MPC member Martin Weale has said that he did not see a case for further easing, and on Tuesday Dale joined deputy governor Charles Bean in saying that he expected inflation to be a bit higher than the BoE forecast in February.

Inflation data released on Tuesday showed that consumer price inflation dropped to 3.4 percent in February from 3.6 percent the month before - a slightly smaller drop than economists had forecast.

But the Bank has forecast that inflation will fall below its 2 percent target by the end of the year, due to the fading of one-off effects lifting inflation last year as well as due to economic slack caused by a sluggish recovery.

(Reporting by David Milliken and Sven Egenter)