Credit risk is a critical issue that affects banks and companies on a global scale. Possessing the ability to accurately predict the level of credit risk has the potential to help the lender and borrower. This is achieved by alleviating the number of loans provided to borrowers with poor financial health, thereby reducing the number of failed businesses, and, in effect, preventing economies from collapsing. This paper uses state-of-the-art stochastic models, namely: Decision trees, random forests, and stochastic gradient boosting to add to the current literature on credit-risk modelling. The Australian mining industry has been selected to test our methodology. Mining in Australia generates around $138 billion annually, making up more than half of the total goods and services. This paper uses publicly-available financial data from 750 risky
and not risky
Australian mining companies as variables in our models. Our results indicate that stochastic gradient boosting was the superior model at correctly classifying the good
credit-rated companies within the mining sector. Our model showed that ‘Property, Plant, & Equipment (PPE) turnover’, ‘Invested Capital Turnover’, and ‘Price over Earnings Ratio (PER)’ were the variables with the best explanatory power pertaining to predicting credit risk in the Australian mining sector.