The Bank of England looks set to keep its quantitative easing programme unchanged on Thursday before giving the economy a further shot of stimulus in February when it has a clearer picture of where growth and inflation are heading.

The central bank said in October that it would buy 75 billion pounds of gilts over the following four months, building on its previous 200 billion pounds of asset purchases.

A recent slew of mixed economic news has bolstered the view of most analysts that Bank may want to wait until February before injecting more cash into the struggling economy.

If there was an absolute disaster on the economic data, it would be possible (this month), said Alan Clarke, economist at Scotia Capital.

It's been quite the opposite.

Some business surveys showed a surprise pick-up in activity towards the end of 2011.

Nonetheless, Britain's economy remains at risk of recession as the spill-over from the euro zone crisis looms large and banks look set to tighten credit.

The British Chambers of Commerce warned on Tuesday that the economy was at risk of contracting in the first half of this year, and the latest data from the retail sector and property market did little to dispel such fears.

With the government's hands tied by its pledge to erase the country's huge budget deficit, the onus remains on Bank to support growth, and markets are expecting interest rates to stay at a record low of 0.5 percent well into 2013.

By February the current round of quantitative easing, or QE, will be concluded, freeing up the market for more gilt purchases, and the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee will have its latest growth and inflation estimates, which will later be published in its quarterly Inflation Report.

Bank chief economist Spencer Dale, one of the more hawkish members of the committee, has said he might be uncomfortable extending QE without clear signs that economic slack was lowering prices.

While Bank is unlikely to boost asset purchases this month, some analysts see an outside chance that it could announce a February expansion of the QE programme on Thursday to save investors guessing.

If I were a policy-maker I wouldn't want to introduce any more uncertainty into the market, said Eric Wand, fixed-income strategist at Lloyds.

When Bank does up the ante, most probably in February, it could inject as much as 75 billion pounds in additional stimulus, according to a Reuters poll of 47 economists. The median forecast in the poll is 50 billion pounds.

And many economists say more QE is likely to follow further down the line, with some saying the total could reach 500 billion pounds - almost twice the purchases so far.

(Editing by Hugh Lawson)