The UK economy has shown a few signs of improvement in the first three months of this year, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said. The latest quarterly economic survey by the business lobby said that domestic orders and exports were all higher from the previous quarter. The BCC had previously warned of "stagflation". But the UK economy "is still facing huge challenges and the recovery is much too slow", the BCC said. The group expects economic growth of 0.3% in the first quarter of 2012, which would mean the UK would avoid a technical recession - defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction. Last week, the international economic think tank, the OECD, said it expects the UK economy to contract at the start of the year, taking the country back into recession. But on Monday, data suggested the manufacturing sector grew at its fastest pace for 10 months in March in an encouraging sign that the economy could return to growth in the first quarter, after contracting by 0.3% in the last three months of 2011.