A senior analyst at Antaike, a state-owned research unit, predicted that Chinese growth in demand for aluminum would slow from 8.5% in 2008 to 3% in 2009, Reuters reported. A 3% growth rate would be the slowest in years, and would mark a steep decline from the 30% growth in demand China enjoyed in 2007. The analyst suggested that 1.5 million tons of smelting capactity might go idle by the end of the year, and new capacity projects would be delayed. The reduction in smelter production could cause metal output to flatten in 2009. On Monday, China said it would spend US$3 billion on a range of base metals to bolster its mining and smelting industries.