A new report from the International Monetary Fund urges officials in Latin America to help the poor cope with rising food prices to help fend off social unrest.

Friday's IMF report also says the region has been helped by a boom in prices for the commodities that it sells, helping these nations weather an economic downturn in the United States, a key trading partner.

But the report also predicts that commodity prices will decline and that Latin America's economic growth rate will slow by two percent, to just 3.6 percent in 2009.

The slowing growth rate may help policy makers in the region continue their relatively successful recent efforts to contain inflation.  

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.