* Less than one-in-three chance ECB starts quantitative easing
* Economists who gave greater than 50 pct chance said ECB would start QE in next few months
* 54 of 57 economists said euro zone inflation has troughed
There is slightly less than a one-in-three chance the European Central Bank will start buying bonds outright as it struggles to lift dangerously low inflation and support a lacklustre economic recovery, a Reuters poll found.
The poll of 59 economists, taken this week, gave a median 30 percent chance the ECB would start a quantitative easing programme, about half a decade after the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England launched the same kind of stimulus.
That is above the median 18 percent chance given in a Reuters poll in January but less than the 40 percent likelihood money market traders saw in poll taken on Monday.