CHICAGO -- Block cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange remained fairly stable last week, averaging $1.77 per pound for the trading week ended Aug. 15, 2008, up 2 cents compared with the previous week.   The closing price for block cheese was slightly under $1.78 per pound Monday and Tuesday and slightly above $1.76 per pound Wednesday and Thursday. Prices closed at $1.76 per pound Friday.   Block cheese prices are 18 cents per pound lower than they were this time last year, when block cheese averaged $1.95 per pound.   Wheat   Wheat for September delivery trended upward last week, closing at $9.12 per bushel Friday on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Friday's close was up 6 percent compared with the previous Friday, when wheat finished the trading week at $8.58 per bushel.   Prices had closed at $8.82 per bushel Monday, $8.91 Tuesday, $9.46 per bushel Wednesday and $9.54 per bushel on Thursday.
 
Gasoline and diesel fuel   The nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline fell to an average of $3.74 per gallon Aug. 18, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, off 7 cents from this time last week.
 
Prices are off 9 percent from an average of $4.09 per gallon a month ago and up 35 percent from an average of $2.77 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 $4.38 per gallon Aug. 18, off 4 cents from $4.54 per gallon the previous week. Diesel prices are up 50 percent from an average of $2.93 per gallon this time last year.   Natural gas   Natural gas spot prices decreased during the reporting period ended Aug. 13, according to the Energy Information Administration, marking the sixth consecutive week the price of natural gas has fallen.
 
During the reporting period, prices at the Henry Hub fell 59 cents per MMBtu, or about 7 percent, to $8.11 per MMBtu.   Prices in the Northeast were $8.58 per MMBtu on Aug. 13, off 77 cents compared with $9.25 per MMBtu the previous week.

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