ECB to chart steady course in March meeting: sources

FRANKFURT, March 1 (Reuters) - European Central Bank policymakers are likely to discuss tweaking their communication stance in their March 8 meeting but no major policy shift is expected, three sources with direct knowledge of the discussion said.

Concerned about recent market turbulence, the strong euro and a dip in both headline and underlying inflation, officials prefer waiting, perhaps until the summer, before starting to signal the end of asset buys, the sources said.

Having bought more than 2 trillion euros worth of bonds to prop up inflation, the ECB is expected to shut its bond purchase scheme by the end of the year, satisfied that robust economic growth will lift consumer prices, even if only slowly.

But the sources said the ECB will want plenty of evidence that inflation will rise, fearing damage to its credibility if it moves too soon and then has to reverse course.

The most ambitious change to be discussed at the meeting could be a proposal to give up the bank's so-called easing bias, a stipulation that the ECB could increase asset buys if necessary.

While this would be relatively uncontroversial as few if any expect bigger purchases, policymakers rejected such a suggestion in January and the sources said fundamentals had not changed enough since then to make such a tweak certain.

But a broader decision about revamping the bank's guidance, already flagged for "early" 2018, will not come this month, with some policymakers arguing that such a shift could wait until April or June, the sources said.

The ECB declined to comment on the matter. (Additional reporting by Frank Siebelt Editing by Gareth Jones)