Signs that the economy will avoid a recession and worries about potentially sticky inflation should stop the Bank of England from announcing more monetary stimulus this week, a stance increasingly likely to persist at the key May meeting.

All 56 economists polled by Reuters last week expect the Bank to keep the target for its asset purchases unchanged on Thursday, after it decided in February to buy an extra 50 billion pounds of gilts over the following three months.

Although in February and March two of the nine rate-setters on the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee voted for more gilt buys and might do so again this month, the momentum for more quantitative easing is fading as the economy looks on track for a modest recovery from a contraction in late 2011.

Data this week showed a surprise acceleration in manufacturing and construction growth in March, while the British Chambers of Commerce estimated that the economy grew 0.3 percent in the first three months of 2012, helped by strong overseas demand.

Even Adam Posen, one of the pair calling for more stimulus, has recently struck a more optimistic tone, saying last week he was hopeful that Britain was on the cusp of a more robust recovery.

He also signalled his broad agreement with the Bank's February forecast that inflation would fall below its 2 percent target later this year without undershooting significantly on the crucial two-year horizon. That leaves David Miles as potentially the most ardent proponent of doing more QE.

Elsewhere on the committee there have been some subtle moves towards a less dovish stance over the last couple of months, said Philip Rush, economist at Nomura.

MPC member Martin Weale has said that he does not see a case for further easing and fellow policymakers Spencer Dale, Charles Bean and Paul Tucker have highlighted the risks that inflation may fall less than the Bank forecasts.

Minutes from the MPC's March meeting, when it left policy steady, indicated growing concern among policymakers about the impact of higher oil prices and future wage rises on inflation.

The bank's gilt-buying program currently totals 325 billion pounds and its latest purchases will be completed in May, making next month's meeting a likely time for any new cash injection to be announced.

A slightly smaller minority of economists polled by Reuters now forecast more stimulus this year compared to expectations at the end of February and there are also fewer predictions that the asset purchase total will rise above 350 billion pounds.

However, a sizeable minority still think the BoE has further to go on QE and most of those see another 25 billion or 50 billion pounds injected to taper off the programme.

The case for (more QE in May) is more finely balanced than in February, Investec analyst Victoria Cadman said.

Despite a wide belief that the Thursday MPC meeting will result in no action on QE - nor on interest rates which are expected to stay at their record low of 0.5 percent until at least the end of 2013 - Nomura's Rush thinks Posen and Miles may repeat their call for more stimulus this week.

They don't expect that easing to take place immediately but to signal the direction as of May, said Rush, who sees a final 25 billion pound installment of QE in May. That makes clear to the market that there is still a contingent within the MPC that's highly likely to vote for more as of May.

The Bank wound down the first 200 billion pound round of QE in 2009-10 with a final injection of 25 billion pounds.

(Editing by Toby Chopra)