POLL-Sterling seen halting slide as slump fears diminish
* Sterling slide seen over for now
* Forecasts in latest poll revised down sharply
LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Sterling's recent descent is over as a fledgling economic recovery softens calls for further monetary easing from the Bank of England but the pound won't recoup its losses, a Reuters poll of currency strategists predicted.
The currency sank to multi-month lows against the dollar and euro during January after data showed the British economy contracted again at the end of 2012, raising the spectre of an unprecedented triple-dip recession.
But recent purchasing managers' indexes have allayed some of those fears, reporting better than expected growth and chiming with the latest quarterly forecast from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a leading think-tank, which said Britain would probably skirt another recession.
Sterling was trading around $1.56 on Wednesday and forecasts in the latest poll of over 60 analysts, taken this week, predicted one pound would be worth $1.58 in one-month, $1.56 in six months and $1.57 in a year.
That is a sharp downward revision from January's poll which saw the pound getting you $1.62 now and 1.59 at the end of next January.
"The pound started 2013 on a very weak footing. Last year it was supported by safe haven inflows during the euro zone debt crisis and the situation in Europe has continued to stabilise in early 2013 and that has led to some reversal of those flows," said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.
Forecasts for the 12-month horizon ranged from $1.30 to $1.78, the same as last month, showing analysts are still divided over which direction the pound will go.
Out of the 58 common contributors in this and the last poll 35 revised down their 12-month forecast and 12 revised them up. Eleven left them unchanged.
At the start of the year the pound hit a 16-month high against the greenback but see-sawed to a 5-month low in late January on worries a weak British economy would make a fresh round of monetary easing more likely.
After only one quarter of expansion, Britain's economy contracted again at the end of last year. That put it on the brink of its third recession in four years.
As part of its rescue attempt the Bank of England has so far injected 375 billion pounds into markets and slashed rates to a record low of 0.5 percent back in early 2009.
But the probability of further bond purchases by the BoE, or quantitative easing, fell to a median 40 percent in a poll taken last week and Bank Rate was seen on hold until at least the middle of next year.
The euro zone, Britain's main trading partner, also looks likely to have endured another quarter of recession at the end of last year and won't see any growth until next quarter.
However, a slew of recent data has suggested the worst may be over for the 17 nations using the common currency.
The pound fell to its lowest in 15 months against the euro of 87.17 on Friday after better-than-expected euro zone manufacturing data helped drive the single currency higher across the board.
According to the poll one euro will get you 85 pence in a month, 84p in a six months and just 83 pence in a year. Still, that is more than the respective 81p, 80p and 80p forecasts in January's poll.
"Sterling has had a torrid start to 2013 with sentiment being hit by concerns over the economy, uncertainty over future monetary policy and suspicion that at least one credit agency will soon strip the UK of its AAA rating," said Howard Archer at IHS Global Insight.
"We suspect sterling will see further softness against the dollar but it may stabilize against what we suspect is an overbought euro."
(Analysis by Ashrith Doddi, polling by Sarmista Sen and Rahul Karunakar; Editing by Toby Chopra)