Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the opening session of the Forum on Africa and China Cooperation at Sandton, in Johannesburg, on December 4, 2015

Sentiment on China among global investors has always veered between exaggerated optimism and excessive pessimism. Even so, the latest bout of gloom is unusually severe. As WSJ’s Andrew Browne writes in his “China’s World” column:

Today’s disillusion is focused largely on China’s future prospects, not its current condition. Absent the reassurance of reform progress, the expectation is that growth will stall. Only the timing is in doubt.

Why the delay? Some say Mr. Xi has been too busy consolidating his power, or that he’s been consumed by his anticorruption campaign. It takes time, they point out, to build consensus on controversial overhauls to rejuvenate state-owned enterprises, open the financial system to greater competition and liberalize land and labor markets.

But evidence is building that reforms have stalled for a more basic reason: Mr. Xi, despite the early hype, sees only a limited role for markets.