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CHICAGO -- Block cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange continued to slide during the shortened trading week last week, averaging $1.19 per pound for the trading week ended Dec. 31, off 9 cents from the previous week.
 
The CME was closed Thursday and Friday for the New Year's holiday.   Block cheese prices closed at slightly under $1.27 per pound Monday, slightly above $1.18 per pound Tuesday and slightly above $1.13 per pound Wednesday.
 
Prices are down 83 cents, or 41 percent, compared with this time last year, when block cheese averaged just above $2.02 per pound.   Wheat   Wheat for March delivery closed at just above $6.55 per bushel Friday on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Prices had closed at just under $6.45 per bushel Monday, just above $6.55 per bushel Tuesday and just under $6.55 per bushel Wednesday.
 
The MGEX was closed Thursday for New Year's Day.
 
Gasoline and diesel fuel   The nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline was $1.62 per gallon Jan. 5, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, unchanged from the previous week.   Prices are off 7 percent from an average of $1.75 per gallon a month ago and off 44 percent from an average of $3.10 per gallon this time last year. Mid-range unleaded averaged $1.77 per gallon, while premium unleaded stood at $1.84 per gallon.   The nationwide average price for diesel fuel stood at $2.40 per gallon Jan. 5, off 4 cents from $2.44 per gallon last week. Diesel prices are off 30 percent from an average of $3.45 per gallon this time last year.   Natural gas
 
The Energy Information Administration did not issue a natural gas update this week.
 

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