CHICAGO -- Block cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trended upward last week, averaging slightly above $1.95 per pound for the trading week ended July 18, 2008.   The average price for block cheese was up more than four cents from the previous week. The closing price was slightly above $1.93 per pound Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, $1.97 per pound Thursday and above $2 per pound Friday.   Block cheese prices are slightly higher than they were this time last year, when block cheese averaged $1.93 per pound.   Wheat   Wheat for July delivery trended significantly lower last week, closing at $8.88 per bushel Friday on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Friday's close was off more than 9 percent compared with the previous Friday, when wheat finished the trading week at $9.81 per bushel.
 
Prices had closed at $9.81 per bushel Monday, $8.75 per bushel Tuesday, $8.94 per bushel Wednesday and $8.80 per bushel Thursday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel   The nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline fell to an average of $4.07 per gallon July 21, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, off four cents from this time last week. Prices are unchanged from an average of $4.07 per gallon a month ago and up 36 percent from an average of $3 per gallon this time last year. Mid-range unleaded averaged $4.32 per gallon, while premium unleaded stood at $4.48 per gallon.   The nationwide average price for diesel fuel stood at $4.82 per gallon July 21, unchanged from last week. Diesel prices are up 63 percent from an average of $2.95 per gallon this time last year.   Natural gas   Natural gas prices declined sharply during the reporting period ended July 16, according to the Energy Information Administration, with the largest decreases occurring in the Arizona, Nevada, California, and Louisiana trading regions. During the reporting period, the Henry Hub natural gas spot price decreased 94 cents to $11.15 per MMBtu compared with the previous week.   The lack of any serious threats from hurricane activity likely caused the decline in prices according to the EIA. However, the most active part of the hurricane season is still to occur.
 
Prices in the Northeast were $13.39 per MMBtu July 16, up 38 cents compared with $13.01 per MMBtu the previous week.
 

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