The Bank of England will withhold fresh stimulus for the frail economy after its policy meeting next week, as it waits for clearer signs on the extent of economic trouble and for the gilt market to digest existing asset purchases.
The central bank announced plans in October to buy 75 billion pounds of gilts over four months, building on the previous 200 billion-pound round of quantitative easing.
Analysts have little doubt the Bank will expand that again soon, though not on Thursday when its Monetary Policy Committee members conclude their monthly meeting.
None of the 51 economists polled by Reuters expected the Bank to raise their target for gilt buybacks next week.
The December meeting of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee is unlikely to result in any early Christmas presents for the needy UK economy, said Howard Archer, senior economist at IHS Global Insight.
He added he expected the Bank to extend its asset-purchasing programme by 100 billion pounds in the first half of 2012, taking the total up to 375 billion pounds.
Earlier this week, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that Britain will slip into a modest recession early next year. Likewise, the government said that the economy will stagnate until mid-2012 and could easily fall back into recession.
More bad news came from a purchasing managers' survey showing that British manufacturing sector shrank for a second successive month in November and at its fastest pace since June 2009.
Much of that contraction was caused by weak demand globally and especially in the crisis-ridden euro zone, which absorbs half of all British goods exports.
However, a number of concerns will stop the MPC from injecting more freshly-printed money into the economy or cutting interest rates from their record low of 0.5 percent this month.
Minutes to the Bank's November 9-10 policy meeting, published last week, revealed that policymakers saw no case for increasing monetary stimulus before February, despite a rise in the chances of a worst-case outcome for the euro zone crisis.
The MPC said the market could not tolerate a substantially faster pace of gilt purchases than the Bank was currently undertaking, and that there was little merit in fine-tuning due to the scale of medium-term economic uncertainty.
It's most likely that they will take the decision in January or, even more likely, February, said Brian Hilliard, economist at Societe Generale.
Most likely, the short-term economic indicators will have got worse. They can then expand the programme at that time, so there'll be no hiatus.
The MPC, charged with keeping price rises under control, will also want to see whether their forecasts for a marked fall in inflation from January prove true before embarking on more, potentially inflationary, quantitative easing.
If we ... run the risk of taking further chances with our credibility -- rather than waiting to see that inflation does actually drop down sharply -- then I can see a strong case for saying that we ought to wait and see, MPC member Martin Weale said last week.
Inflation eased in October for the first time since June, lending support to the Bank's view that inflation will start to come down -- but at 5 percent it is still more than double is 2 percent target..
And even a sudden deterioration in the euro zone would not necessarily persuade the Bank to bring forward the next round of asset purchases, said SocGen's Hilliard, because there are other very powerful and quick tools.
If there were to be some heightening of the crisis, the immediate response should be in terms of ensuring the proper functioning of the money markets and of the banking system, and that's liquidity provision, getting the government to maybe reopen the credit guarantee scheme, things like that, he added.
(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova)