The Bank of England's policy meeting this week may be undramatic on the surface, but there are signs of deepening rifts on the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee over the need for more stimulus for the economy.
All the economists polled by Reuters last week expected the Bank to keep rates on hold at a record low 0.5 percent and to stick with February's decision to buy an extra 50 billion pounds of government bonds over the next three months.
But despite the fact that two MPC members wanted to raise quantitative easing purchases by 75 billion pounds last month, most economists now no longer expect any more QE this year.
That shift in expectations is partly due to signs the economy is growing modestly after contracting late last year, reduced concerns about Greece's debt crisis, and a surge in oil prices that has taken UK petrol prices to a record high.
But it also comes after the minutes to last month's policy meeting showed some policymakers saw a case for doing no more QE at all.
The flavour of discussion is already picking up that three-way split, said BNP Paribas economist David Tinsley.
Martin Weale, who voted for rate rises early last year, said he did not currently see a case for more QE in May, and the Bank's two deputy governors, Paul Tucker and Charlie Bean, told legislators last week that they expected inflation to be higher than the Bank's central forecast.
The past month's sharp rise in oil prices due to tensions in Iran and Nigeria is likely to crystallise these divisions.
Previous Bank forecasts have fallen foul of oil price shocks, and inflation has a fair way to drop from its current 3.6 percent to a level below its 2 percent target that is forecast for the end of this year, something that will make more hawkish MPC members loath to add more stimulus.
But Tinsley said most MPC members would probably view the oil price rise as likely to have a clear negative impact on growth given weak consumer demand, and thus overall put downward pressure on inflation over the next 2-3 years.
David Miles, one of the two policymakers who voted for a higher dose of QE last month, said that aggressive monetary stimulus was needed now, to avoid a lengthy period of sluggish growth that would make it hard for the Bank to raise rates back to a more normal level from their current record low.
For now, any rise in interest rates - never mind a reversal of the past three years' gilt purchases - looks a long way off.
Markets are not pricing in a first rate rise for another two years, and Deutsche Bank economist George Buckley said that as a result, the unconventional weapon of QE looked likely to become a standard piece of the Bank's armoury.
The recovery may be too gradual for interest rates to be raised at all over the next year and a half, leaving a further round of QE (QE3) the only option should the next downswing arrive sooner than expected, he said.
(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Hugh Lawson)