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CHICAGO -- Block cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange passed last year's prices last week, averaging just under $1.93 per pound for the trading week ended Sept. 19, 2008, up 7 cents compared with the previous week. It was the first time in several weeks that prices were above last year's average.   The closing price for block cheese was $1.91 per pound Monday, $1.92 per pound Tuesday, just over $1.92 per pound Wednesday and Thursday and above $1.95 per pound Friday.
 
Block cheese prices are about 2 cents per pound higher than they were this time last year, when block cheese averaged just under $1.91 per pound.
 
Wheat   Wheat for December delivery closed at $7.85 per bushel Friday on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Prices had closed at $7.89 per bushel Monday, $7.55 per bushel Tuesday, $7.89 per bushel Wednesday and $7.64 per bushel on Thursday.
 
Gasoline and diesel fuel   Gasoline prices retreated last week following a price spike the previous week due to Hurricane Ike. The nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline was $3.74 per gallon Sept. 22, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, off 10 cents from this time last week.
 
Prices are up slightly from an average of $3.70 per gallon a month ago and up 33 percent from an average of $2.81 per gallon this time last year. Mid-range unleaded averaged $3.90 per gallon, while premium unleaded stood at $4.02 per gallon.
 
The nationwide average price for diesel fuel stood at $4.11 per gallon Sept. 22, off 7 cents from $4.18 per gallon from last week. Diesel prices are up 36 percent from an average of $3.05 per gallon this time last year.
 
Natural gas   Natural gas spot prices decreased at most markets in the lower 48 states for the reporting week ended Sept. 17, although prices increased at some trading locations directly supplied by offshore Gulf of Mexico production, which was almost entirely shut in for most of the week.   During the reporting period, prices at the Henry Hub rose 17 cents per million Btu to $7.82 compared with $7.65 per MMBtu the previous week.
 
Prices in the Northeast were $8.11 per MMBtu, up 6 cents from the previous week.

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