Emergency cash print move is on if economy fails to fire
The Bank of England will seriously consider another dose of emergency money printing on Thursday if evidence emerges of a further deterioration in the economy.
Its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is widely expected to leave interest rates at their record low of 0.5% and the stock of quantitative easing at £325bn.
However, if a closely-watched survey of the important services sector released hours before members make their decision shows a contraction, it could prompt the Bank to fire up its money printing presses again.
A contraction of the services sector would add weight to fears that the economy is deteriorating after the manufacturing sector suffered a shock contraction in the second biggest decline in the 20-year history of the Markit/CIPS survey.
Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec, believes the manufacturing decline may have unnerved the MPC, but it was not "a game changer", whereas a similar trend in the services sector would be "a different story".
Simon Hayes, an analyst at Barclays Capital, said: "If the services sector PMI published on Thursday morning were to show a similarly precipitous fall, the MPC is likely to give serious consideration to a QE expansion."
However, the City only expects the Markit data for the services sector on Thursday to show a slow-down in growth rather than a contraction.
Mr Hayes does not believe such a performance would be enough to press the Bank into more action. He does not expect more QE until August when he predicts a £50bn injection.
Pressure on the Bank to implement more stimulus measures has been mounting in recent weeks after official figures showed the UK's double-dip recession was deeper than previously thought with a 0.3% fall in the first quarter of 2012.
The record low interest rate, which is expected to be kept by the Bank