CHICAGO -- Block cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fell sharply last week, averaging $1.96 per pound for the trading week ended Aug. 1, 2008. The average price for block cheese was off nearly 10 cents from the previous week. The closing price was close to $2.08 per pound Monday and Tuesday and $1.97 Wednesday, falling to slightly under $1.84 per pound Thursday and Friday. Block cheese prices are 8 cents per pound higher than they were this time last year, when block cheese averaged $1.88 per pound. Wheat Wheat for July delivery remained fairly stable last week, closing at $8.74 per bushel Friday on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Friday's close was slightly lower compared with the previous Friday, when wheat finished the trading week at $8.88 per bushel.
Prices had closed at $8.76 per bushel Monday, $8.73 Tuesday, $8.70 per bushel Wednesday and $8.71 per bushel on Thursday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel The nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline fell to an average of $3.88 per gallon Aug. 4, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, off 8 cents from this time last week. Prices are off 5 percent from an average of $4.10 per gallon a month ago and up 37 percent from an average of $2.84 per gallon this time last year. Mid-range unleaded averaged $4.05 per gallon, while premium unleaded stood at $4.17 per gallon. The nationwide average price for diesel fuel stood at $4.65 per gallon Aug. 4, off 9 cents from $4.74 per gallon from last week. Diesel prices are up 57 percent from an average of $2.96 per gallon this time last year. Natural gas Natural gas spot prices decreased at all markets in the lower 48 states during the reporting period ended July 30, according to the Energy Information Administration, with most decreases ranging between 40 and 99 cents per million Btu. During the reporting period, prices at the Henry Hub fell 88 cents per MMBtu, or about 9 percent, to $9.01 per MMBtu. Prices in the Northeast were $10.08 per MMBtu July 30, off 81 cents compared with $10.89 per MMBtu the previous week.