US hot-briquetted iron (HBI) exports have increased due to stronger European demand, as European steelmakers seek lower-carbon feedstocks. In June-July, the US exported 174,038 mt of HBI, a 63% increase from 74,419 mt in June-July 2022. The destinations of these shipments have shifted, with all US HBI export cargoes going to Mexico in April-May but targeting Spain, France, Belgium, Mexico, and Turkey in June-July.
Markets are functioning as they should and finding better prices on an FOB basis for export, as Europe has higher demand from emissions targets. All US export cargoes of HBI since 2017 have originated from the 2 million mt/yr production facility in Corpus Christi, Texas, which was opened by Austria-based steelmaker Voestalpine in Oct. 2016.
Luxembourg-based steelmaker Arcelormittal acquired an 80% stake in the plant in July 2022. The EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism will enter a transitional phase from Oct. 1, requiring carbon-intensive industries like steelmaking to report carbon accounting for imported products.