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CHICAGO -- Block cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange continued to climb last week, averaging just over $1.86 per pound for the trading week ended Sept. 12, up 14 cents compared with the previous week.   The closing price for block cheese was just over $1.81 per pound Monday, slightly above $1.84 per pound Tuesday, just over $1.87 per pound Wednesday and Thursday and above $1.90 per pound Friday.
 
Block cheese prices are about 25 cents per pound lower than they were this time last year, when block cheese averaged $2.10 per pound.
 
Wheat   Wheat for September delivery declined last week, closing at $7.72 per bushel Friday on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Friday's close was off 4 percent compared with the previous Friday, when wheat finished the trading week at $8.03 per bushel.   Prices had closed at $8.03 per bushel Monday, $7.90 per bushel Tuesday, $7.80 per bushel Wednesday and $7.95 per bushel on Thursday.
 
Gasoline and diesel fuel   Gasoline prices rose dramatically last week as Hurricane Ike impacted several refineries along the Gulf Coast. The nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline was $3.84 per gallon Sept. 15, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, up 18 cents from this time last week.
 
Prices are up 2 percent from an average of $3.76 per gallon a month ago and up 38 percent from an average of $2.79 per gallon this time last year. Mid-range unleaded averaged $4.01 per gallon, while premium unleaded stood at $4.13 per gallon.
 
The nationwide average price for diesel fuel stood at $4.18 per gallon Sept. 15, off 4 cents from $4.22 per gallon from last week. Diesel prices are up 39 percent from an average of $3.00 per gallon this time last year.
 
Natural gas   Natural gas spot prices increased at most markets in the lower 48 states for the reporting week ended Sept. 10 as Hurricane Ike prompted the evacuation of personnel from offshore drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.   During the reporting period, prices at the Henry Hub rose 39 cents per million Btu to $7.65 compared with $7.26 per MMBtu the previous week.
 
Prices in the Northeast were $8.05 per MMBtu, off 2 cents from the previous week.
 

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