CHICAGO — Block cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trended downward for the week ended March 3, averaging $1.90 per pound for the week, down 16 cents from an average of 2.06 the previous week.
 
Prices closed at $1.97 per pound Monday, falling to a closing price of $1.90 Tuesday and Wednesday and dropping to a closing price slightly above $1.86 Thursday and Friday.
Cheese prices are up about 38 percent compared with the same week last year, when they averaged $1.38 per pound.   Wheat   Wheat futures for March delivery closed at $10.93 per bushel Friday on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest price ever. Wheat also hit record prices Wednesday and Thursday on the CBOT.
 
Gasoline and diesel fuel   The nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline was $3.22 per gallon March 9, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, up 5 cents from this time last week. Prices were up 7 percent from an average of $3.00 a month ago and up 28 percent from an average of $2.53 this time last year. Mid-range unleaded averaged $3.41, while premium unleaded stood at $3.54 per gallon.   The nationwide average price for diesel fuel stood at $3.81 per gallon March 9, up 4 percent from an average of $3.67 per gallon last week. Diesel prices are up 40 percent from an average of $2.72 per gallon this time last year.   Natural gas
 
Natural gas spot prices generally increased in most areas of the country for the period from Feb. 28 to March 5, with the Northeast region being the exception. The spot price for natural gas at the Henry Hub rose slightly to $9.37 on March 5, up from $9.21 the previous week.
 
Prices in the Northeast dropped to $10.42 per MMBtu March 5, down from an average of $13.16 the previous week.

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