The overcapacity problem in China's steel industry has shown no signs of improvement despite recent increases in prices, the country's vice minister for industry said on Monday.

"Prices have been improving since the end of last year but there hasn't been any fundamental change in the underlying conditions of the market and no improvement in overcapacity," Xin Guobin told a conference in Beijing.

The vice minister also told the conference that protectionism will not solve problems in the global steel industry.

China's April steel production fell from March, although average daily production rates increased from 2.279 million metric tons to 2.314 million, according to Reuters calculations based on data released from the National Bureau of Statistics on May 14.