Crude oil prices continued to plunge on Thursday's trading session. Crude began yesterday's trading session at $87.50 a barrel. The session began with a fall to $86.30 a barrel, which was promptly corrected. Yet by midday another sharp fall took place, and crude reached as low as $85.10 a barrel.

Crude dropped yesterday on concern that the pace of fuel demand recovery in the U.S. will falter. The U.S. is the world's biggest crude-consuming nation, and a reduced demand for oil in the U.S. has a negative impact on crude prices. In addition, crude fell after Japan's credit rating was cut by Standard & Poor's, which stated that the Japanese government lacks a coherent strategy to reduce the nation's debt.

Looking ahead to today, traders are advised to follow the leading economic releases from the U.S. and the euro-zone as these usually have a large impact on crude prices. Traders should also follow any developments regarding the Japanese credit cut, as this may also play a leading role in today's trading.