The Japanese yen strengthened against its major counterparts in the Asian session on Friday, as comments from a raft of Fed officials intensifying the likelihood of a rate hike in March deteriorated risk sentiment.

In her Congressional testimony, Fed Vice Chair nominee Lael Brainard said that the central bank is focused on controlling high inflation and could start lifting interest rates as soon as it ends its bond purchase programme in March.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker penciled in three rate hikes for this year and added that a fourth one is possible, if inflation doesn't recede.

If inflation remains elevated and broad-based, the Fed would need to take on normalization more aggressively, Richmond Fed Bank President Thomas Barkin said.

In the bond market, the benchmark yield on the 10-year U.S. treasury note shot up to 1.72 percent.

The yen climbed to more than a 3-week high of 113.64 against the greenback, 4-day high of 156.00 against the pound and a 2-day high of 124.86 against the franc, off its prior lows of 114.23, 156.62 and 125.37, respectively. The yen is seen finding resistance around 112.00 against the greenback, 153.00 against the pound and 122.00 against the franc.

The yen touched 3-day highs of 130.40 against the euro, 82.63 against the aussie, 77.86 against the kiwi and 90.82 against the loonie, after falling to 130.86, 83.17, 78.41 and 91.31, respectively in early deals. The next possible resistance for the yen is seen around 127.5 against the euro, 80.00 against the aussie, 76.00 against the kiwi and 88.00 against the loonie.

Looking ahead, Eurozone trade data for November is due in the European session. U.S. business inventories data for November, University of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment index for January, retail sales, industrial production and import and export prices, all for December, will be featured in the New York session.

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