CHICAGO -- Block cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange continued to climb last week, averaged slightly less than $1.31 per pound for the trading week ended Feb. 20, up 10 cents from the previous week.   Block cheese prices closed at $1.26 per pound on Tuesday, $1.33 per pound Wednesday, slightly over $1.32 per pound Thursday and $1.31 per pound on Friday. The markets were closed Monday for the President's Day holiday.
Prices are off 75 cents, or 37 percent, compared with this time last year, when block cheese averaged $2.06 per pound.   Wheat   Wheat for March delivery closed at $6.23 per bushel Friday on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Prices had closed at just above $6.20 per bushel Tuesday, $6.20 per bushel Wednesday and just under $6.26 per bushel Thursday.   Gasoline and diesel fuel   The nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline was $1.90 per gallon Feb. 23, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, off 7 cents from the previous week.   Prices are up 3 percent from an average of $1.85 per gallon a month ago and off 39 percent from an average of $3.14 per gallon this time last year. Mid-range unleaded averaged $2.03 per gallon while premium unleaded stood at $2.10 per gallon.
The nationwide average price for diesel fuel stood at $2.26 per gallon Feb. 23, off 6 cents from last week. Diesel prices are off 37 percent from an average of $3.57 per gallon this time last year.   Natural gas   Since Feb. 11, natural gas spot prices have declined at virtually all market locations in the lower 48 states, with decreases ranging between 3 cents and 78 cents per per million Btu, according to the Energy Information Administration. Prices at the Henry Hub fell 33 cents per MMBtu, or about 7 percent, to $4.35 per MMBtu.
Prices in the Northeast stood at $5.18 per MMBtu on Feb. 18 off $6.08 compared with $4.68 the previous week.

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