In this Stockhead series, investment manager James Whelan from VFS Group offers his insights on the key investment themes and trends in domestic and global markets. From macro musings to the metaverse and everything in-between, Whelan offers his distilled thoughts on the hot topic of the day, week, month or year, from the point of view of a professional money manager.


What a weekend just gone.

I was fortunate enough to be offered a ticket to the commissioning of the USS Canberra.

Yes, the USS Canberra, the second time a US ship has borne the name of an Australian city and the first time a US ship was commissioned on foreign shores.

Via Admiral J Whelan

This is of the team that throws the rifles around as part of the spectacle. Precision and accuracy.

And this is the actual ship.

Via Whelan

Once in a lifetime opportunity.

Built by ASX listed company Austal in Alabama and a strong symbol of the strong and growing stronger relationship between the USA and Australia. We are a small country continuing to punch well above our weight.

Some takeaways, because I don’t do anything without a focus on my job:

  1. Both Navies always have a strong sense of making sure to acknowledge their support at home. Family always comes first.
  2. The US Secretary of Navy made a speech that talked about the necessity for ships like the Canberra and on what we’re all about down here. He spent a long time talking about China. Keep in mind his comments wouldn’t have been just decided on the day, they get written by the State Department and represent the views of the Biden Administration. Make no mistake, China is the focus. On Cyber, on borders, on fishing. Everything. China is absolutely their biggest “thing”
  3. Anyone from the US who makes fun of the rituals around the Coronation of a new King really needs to see one of these things.

I’ll try and keep it away from a geopolitical insight as to our role in the South China Sea but make no mistake we are being made ready for this to be in our existence within the medium term future.

“The Algo” did seem to hear some chatter about China on my phone and has since started recommending me the sort of thing you only read late at night. I.E. – Salt grain time.

There’s this… About why Kissinger travelled to China and ends here:

Via X


And this one about the battleground ahead:



So some very exciting reading ahead for anyone wanting to get into the weeds on some borderline conspiracy stuff regarding China.

Invest accordingly.

Now to something a little more tangible, the collapse of the Russian grain deal has put pressure on grains.

India has banned exports of non-basmati white rice. Which would be okay except they’re the biggest exporter of the stuff. It’s done the obvious:

Via FT


In other news the banks in the US have rallied.

Normality has resumed.

Soft landing seems like it’s now the norm.

It does mean that is now the thing that has to change…

Via StockCharts

And oil seems like it’s back on the right side of the big line.

Via All Star

In short – with a week ahead that we have some massive data drops (CPI and PMI) and more mega tech reporting and a FOMC meeting, maybe this week is the week to watch, look at boats, read on China and not do too much.

No change to the plan. Stay the course.

Fair winds and following seas to the good crew of the USS Canberra!!

All the best,


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