China's economy grew about 11.9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, topping expectations and expanding at the fastest annual pace in nearly three years, according to two market sources.

Consumer price inflation in March was roughly 2.4 percent, one of the sources said. That would be a deceleration from the 2.7 percent rate in February and below forecasts of 2.6 percent.

China is scheduled to publish its first-quarter GDP growth rate and a suite of economic data for March on Thursday.

The numbers heard by Reuters matched those reported earlier on Wednesday by China Business News, a Chinese-language newspaper which cited an unidentified source.

(Reporting by Beijing News Room)