Although the business risk level and credit payment in the economy improved in September as signs of an emergence out of the crisis strengthened, Business Data Israel still expects an increase in the number of company collapses by the end of the year. "The improvement points to an emergence out of the crisis in the Israeli economy, in particular by the industrial and trade sectors," Tehila Yanai, co-CEO of BDI Israel, said on Tuesday. "At the same, though, we estimate that by the end of the year a great number of companies will be hit hard by the crisis and we will see an increase in the rate of company collapses, which is characteristic of economies emerging out of crises. Companies that are in a problematic situation at the end of the crisis are struggling or fail to keep up with volumes of stock and financing settlements and therefore they collapse." In September, BDI's average-weighted business risk index improved by 3 percent and moved down, to 6.14 points, from 6.35 points in the previous month and 5.96 in September last year. Out of the surveyed companies, 23.8% were classified as being at very high risk last month, with average weighted risk levels of 9 or 10, compared with 24.8% in August. BDI economists said these businesses suffered from large liquidity problems, bouncing checks, and big losses in revenues and profits. The difficulties faced by these companies and businesses would threaten the continuation of their business activity for the coming year or two, the economists said. At the top of the list of the riskiest sectors, with a business risk rating of 7.37, was the tourism and hotel sector, which deteriorated from a rating of 7.10 in August. The second riskiest sector was the cafe and restaurant sector, with a business risk rating of 7.36. In third place was the transportation and haulage sector, with a business risk rating of 6.93, and in fourth place was the construction sector, with a risk rating of 6.84. The strongest and most secure sector in September, as in August, was the chemicals sector, with an average business risk level of 4.90. The cosmetic, pharmaceutics and detergents sector was rated second strongest, with a risk rating of 5.60, closely followed by the paper and carton sector at 5.63 and the communications services sector at 5.73. The payment-reliability report compiled by BDI Israel showed that the average number of 'late payment' or credit days improved in September by one day, and stood at 11 days, compared with 12 in the previous month. The average credit period agreed to by businesses and suppliers remained unchanged at 91 days. The sector with the most lax payment norms in September was the ceramics and sanitary tools sector, where payment was made on average 20 days beyond agreed deadlines, BDI said. In the hotel and hospitality sector, payment on average lagged 18 days behind the agreed deadline. Payments in the food, catering and beverage sector on average were late by 18 days last month. Broken down by sector, the most reliable deals were made in the telecommunications and Internet sector, where on average payment was late by three days beyond agreed deadlines, followed by the textile, clothing and shoe sector, where average payment was late by six days beyond agreed deadlines, and the electricity and energy sector, where payment was seven days late.