More than £50billion has been wiped off the value of Amazon after Donald Trump reopened a war against the online behemoth.
The US president has a long-standing grudge against the retail giant, claiming it has an unfair advantage over small high street stores as it does not pay the same level of taxes.
Trump is said to be convinced, after conversations with friends in the real estate sector, that Amazon, has devastated America’s shopping centres and traditional shops.
Rumours that Trump is poised to strike against Amazon, which made a record £125billion from sales in 2017, have worried investors.
Earlier this week a news report claimed Trump is ‘obsessed’ with the company and is seeking ways to curb its dominance.
Yesterday he tweeted: ‘I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the election.
‘Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state and local governments, use our postal system as their delivery boy (causing tremendous loss to the US), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!’
Afterwards, Amazon’s shares dropped by as much as 3 per cent, or $43.70, to $1,387.72 in early trading, taking a $21billion (£15billion) bite out of its market capitalisation.
It has plunged more than 11 per cent this week, taking losses to £50billion.
The president also believes the company rips off the US Postal Service, which delivers its packages, and has been incensed by negative coverage of his presidency by the Washington Post newspaper, which is owned by the Amazon founder and boss, Jeff Bezos.
‘He is obsessed with Amazon,’ a source told news website Axios. Another source added: ‘He’s wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law.’
Trump wants to ‘clip Jeff Bezos’ wings’, according to the report, and becomes most hostile when discussing tax policy and competition.
The 71-year-old is said to be concerned that Amazon is a threat to the US’s traditional ‘mom and pop’ family-run businesses.
It has also expanded into several new areas in recent years, with a £10.7billion takeover of Whole Foods shocking the big supermarket brands such as Walmart.
It also wants to enter the healthcare and payments sectors.
Trump has attacked the firm numerous times on Twitter, accusing it of not paying enough tax.
‘If Amazon ever had to pay fair taxes, its stock would crash and it would crumble like a paper bag,’ he said in December 2015.
Trump has also claimed that Amazon is not charged enough for deliveries by the US Postal Service – despite his own officials reportedly explaining to him that it makes ‘a ton of money’ from the firm.
A source added: ‘It’s been explained to him in multiple meetings that his perception is inaccurate.’
The postal service has even added Sunday delivery in some cities because demand for Amazon products made it viable.
Yesterday, a White House spokesman rejected suggestions the president had a grudge against Amazon.
He said: ‘A lot of people have made this, with respect to Amazon, about personalities and the CEO at Amazon – we’re talking about Jeff Bezos here. It’s really about policy.’